NK cells are regulated by inhibiting and activating cell surface receptors. Most inhibitory receptors recognize MHC class I Ags and protect healthy cells from NK cell-mediated autoaggression. However, certain activating receptors, including the human activating killer cell Ig-like receptor (KIR) 2DS1, also recognize MHC class I. This fact raises the question of how NK cells expressing such activating receptors are tolerized to host tissues. We investigated whether the presence of HLA-C2, the cognate ligand for 2DS1, induces tolerance in 2DS1-expressing NK cells. Anti-HLA-C2 activity could be detected in vitro in some 2DS1 positive NK clones irrespective of the presence or absence of HLA-C2 ligand in the donor. The frequency of anti-HLA-C2 reactivity was high in donors homozygous for HLA-C1. Surprisingly, no significant difference was seen in the frequency of anti-HLA-C2 cytotoxicity in donors heterozygous for HLA-C2 and donors without HLA-C2 ligand. However, donors homozygous for HLA-C2, compared with all other donors, had significantly reduced frequency of anti-HLA-C2 reactive clones. The 2DS1 positive clones that express inhibitory KIR for self-HLA class I were commonly noncytotoxic, and anti-HLA-C2 cytotoxicity was nearly exclusively restricted to 2DS1 single positive clones lacking inhibitory KIR. 2DS1 single positive NK clones with anti-HLA-C2 reactivity were also present posttransplantation in HLA-C2 positive recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplants from 2DS1 positive donors. These results demonstrate that many NK cells with anti-HLA-C2 reactivity are present in HLA-C1 homozygous and heterozygous donors with 2DS1. In contrast, 2DS1 positive clones from HLA-C2 homozygous donors are frequently tolerant to HLA-C2.
"E.g., Ly49A is inhibitory while Ly49D is activating but both bind to H2Dd in the mouse (48, 67). KIR2DL1 and KIR 2DS1 both recognize HLA-C2 in humans (68, 69), and the Ly49s5/49i5 pair can recognize similar non-classical (RT1-CE) MHC ligands in the rat (54). In mice and humans, sometimes these paired receptors are expressed in the same NK cells, which may create a problem in understanding how receptors with identical or similar ligands but with opposing functions may create a productive immune response. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this review, I summarize some of the early research on NK cell biology and function that led to the discovery of a totally new receptor system for polymorphic MHC class I molecules. That NK cells both could recognize and kill tumor cells but also normal hematopoietic cells through expression of MHC class I molecules found a unifying explanation in the "missing self" hypothesis. This initiated a whole new area of leukocyte receptor research. The common underlying mechanism was that NK cells expressed receptors that were inhibited by recognition of unmodified "self" MHC-I molecules. This could explain both the killing of tumor cells with poor expression of MHC-I molecules and hybrid resistance, i.e., that F1 hybrid mice sometimes could reject parental bone marrow cells. However, a contrasting phenomenon termed allogeneic lymphocyte cytotoxicity in rats gave strong evidence that some of these receptors were activated rather than inhibited by recognition of polymorphic MHC-I. This was soon followed by molecular identification of both inhibitory and stimulatory Ly49 receptors in mice and rats and killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors in humans that could be either inhibited or activated when recognizing their cognate MHC-I ligand. Since most of these receptors now have been molecularly characterized, their ligands and the intracellular pathways leading to activation or inhibition identified, we still lack a more complete understanding of how the repertoire of activating and inhibitory receptors is formed and how interactions between these receptors for MHC-I molecules on a single NK cell are integrated to generate a productive immune response. Although several NK receptor systems have been characterized that recognize MHC-I or MHC-like molecules, I here concentrate on the repertoires of NK receptors encoded by the natural killer cell gene complex and designed to recognize polymorphic MHC-I molecules in rodents, i.e., Ly49 (KLRA) receptors.
Frontiers in Immunology 06/2014; 5:283. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00283
"An alternative hypothesis is that NK cells expressing aKIRs are not deleted, but rather rendered hyporesponsive if the ligand is present in the host. Indeed, in HLA-C2 homozygous donors NK cells expressing KIR2DS1 in the absence of self-HLA class I-specific KIRs (KIR2DS1sp) were hyporesponsive to target cell stimulation, whereas no such hyporesponsiveness was observed in HLA-C1 homozygous donors (15), indicating that the responsiveness of KIR2DS1+ NK cells is tuned down in HLA-C2 homozygous donors (15, 59). Similarly, IL-2 activated KIR2DS1sp NK cell lines and clones from HLA-C2 homozygous donors have been reported to have lower responses to HLA-C2+ target cells (14, 59). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of non-rearranged HLA class I-binding receptors characterizes human and mouse NK cells. The postulation of the missing-self hypothesis some 30 years ago triggered the subsequent search and discovery of inhibitory MHC-receptors, both in humans and mice. These receptors have two functions: (i) to control the threshold for NK cell activation, a process termed "licensing" or "education," and (ii) to inhibit NK cell activation during interactions with healthy HLA class I-expressing cells. The discovery of activating forms of KIRs (aKIR) challenged the concept of NK cell tolerance in steady state, as well as during immune challenge: what is the biological role of the activating KIR, in particular when NK cells express aKIRs in the absence of inhibitory receptors? Recently it was shown that aKIRs also participate in the education of NK cells. However, instead of lowering the threshold of activation like iKIRs, the expression of aKIRs has the opposite effect, i.e., rendering NK cells hyporesponsive. These findings may have consequences during NK cell response to viral infection, in cancer development, and in the initial stages of pregnancy. Here we review the current knowledge of activating KIRs, including the biological concept of aKIR-dependent NK cell education, and their impact in health and disease.
Frontiers in Immunology 04/2014; 5:184. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00184
"Similarly, mice studies described hyporesponsiveness of activating receptor-positive NK cells resulting from in vivo chronic interaction with a viral ligand (110, 111). Recently, KIR2DS1SP NK clones displaying in vitro anti-HLA-C2 cytotoxicity have been identified in all HLA-C genotypes (112). In C2:C2 individuals, these clones are significantly reduced in frequency. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Blurring the boundary between innate and adaptive immune system, natural killer (NK) cells are widely recognized as potent anti-leukemia mediators. Alloreactive donor NK cells have been shown to improve the outcome of allogeneic stem-cell transplantation for leukemia. In addition, in vivo transfer of NK cells may soon reveal an important therapeutic tool for leukemia, if tolerance to NK-mediated anti-leukemia effects is overcome. This will require, at a minimum, the ex vivo generation of a clinically safe NK cell product containing adequate numbers of NK cells with robust anti-leukemia potential. Ideally, ex vivo generated NK cells should also have similar anti-leukemia potential in different patients, and be easy to obtain for convenient clinical scale-up. Moreover, optimal clinical protocols for NK therapy in leukemia and other cancers are still lacking. These and other issues are being currently addressed by multiple research groups. This review will first describe current laboratory NK cell expansion and differentiation techniques by separately addressing different NK cell sources. Subsequently, it will address the mechanisms known to be responsible for NK cell alloreactivity, as well as their clinical impact in the hematopoietic stem cells transplantation setting. Finally, it will briefly provide insight on past NK-based clinical trials.
Frontiers in Immunology 03/2014; 5:95. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00095
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