Variable NK cell receptors exemplified by human KIR3DL1/S1.
ABSTRACT Variegated expression of variable NK cell receptors for polymorphic MHC class I broadens the range of an individual's NK cell response and the capacity for populations and species to survive disease epidemics and population bottlenecks. On evolutionary time scales, this component of immunity is exceptionally dynamic, unstable, and short-lived, being dependent on coevolution of ligands and receptors subject to varying, competing selection pressures. Consequently these systems of variable NK cell receptors are largely species specific and have recruited different classes of glycoprotein, even within the primate order of mammals. Such disparity helps to explain substantial differences in NK cell biology between humans and animal models, for which the population genetics is largely ignored. KIR3DL1/S1, which recognizes the Bw4 epitope of HLA-A and -B and is the most extensively studied of the variable NK cell receptors, exemplifies how variation in all possible parameters of function is recruited to diversify the human NK cell response.
Article: The D0 domain of KIR3D acts as a major histocompatibility complex class I binding enhancer.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In contrast to the KIR2D:HLA-C interaction, little is known of KIR3DL1's interaction with HLA-B or the role of D0, the domain not present in KIR2D. Differences in the strength and specificity for major histocompatibility complex class I of KIR3DL1 and its common chimpanzee homologue Pt-KIR3DL1/2 were exploited to address these questions. Domain-swap, deletion, and site-directed mutants of KIR3DL1 were analyzed for HLA-B binding using a novel, positively signaling cell-cell binding assay. Natural 'deletion' of residues 50 and 51 from its D0 domain causes Pt-KIR3DL1/2 to bind Bw4(+) HLA-B allotypes more avidly than does KIR3DL1. Deletion of these residues from KIR3DL1, or their substitution for alanine, enhanced binding of Bw4(+) HLA-B. None of 15 different point mutations in D0 abrogated KIR3DL1 binding to Bw4(+) HLA-B. In contrast point mutations in the D1 and D2 domains of KIR3DL1, made from knowledge of KIR2D:HLA-C interactions, disrupted binding to Bw4(+) HLA-B. The results are consistent with a model in which D1 and D2 make the principal contacts between KIR3DL1 and HLA-B while D0 acts through a different mechanism to enhance the interaction. This modulatory role for D0 is compatible with natural loss of expression of the D0 domain, a repeated event in the evolution of functional KIR genes.Journal of Experimental Medicine 11/2002; 196(7):911-21. · 13.85 Impact Factor
Article: Crucial role of DNA methylation in determination of clonally distributed killer cell Ig-like receptor expression patterns in NK cells.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Human NK cells are characterized by the expression of surface receptors of the killer cell Ig-like receptor (KIR) family, which are involved in the specific recognition of pathogenic target cells. Each NK cell expresses and maintains an individual subset of inhibitory and stimulatory KIR and in this way contributes to a diversified NK cell repertoire. To date, the molecular basis for generation of clonally distributed KIR expression patterns has been elusive. Here, analyses of DNA methylation patterns of KIR genes in NK cell lines as well as in NK cells, freshly isolated from peripheral blood, demonstrated that a small CpG island surrounding the transcriptional start site of each KIR gene is consistently demethylated in expressed KIR and methylated in unexpressed KIR. DNA-demethylating treatment resulted in a rapid and stable induction of transcription and cell surface expression of all formerly unexpressed KIR in NK cell lines, NK cell clones, and freshly isolated NK cells, but not in other cell types. In vitro methylation of KIR CpG islands repressed reporter gene expression in NK cells. We conclude that clonal patterns of KIR expression are mainly epigenetically determined and maintained through DNA methylation.The Journal of Immunology 11/2002; 169(8):4253-61. · 5.79 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The primates are among the most broadly studied mammalian orders, with the published literature containing extensive analyses of their behavior, physiology, genetics and ecology. The importance of this group in medical and biological research is well appreciated, and explains the numerous molecular phylogenies that have been proposed for most primate families and genera. Composite estimates for the entire order have been infrequently attempted, with the last phylogenetic reconstruction spanning the full range of primate evolutionary relationships having been conducted over a decade ago. To estimate the structure and tempo of primate evolutionary history, we employed Bayesian phylogenetic methods to analyze data supermatrices comprising 7 mitochondrial genes (6,138 nucleotides) from 219 species across 67 genera and 3 nuclear genes (2,157 nucleotides) from 26 genera. Many taxa were only partially represented, with an average of 3.95 and 5.43 mitochondrial genes per species and per genus, respectively, and 2.23 nuclear genes per genus. Our analyses of mitochondrial DNA place Tarsiiformes as the sister group of Strepsirrhini. Within Haplorrhini, we find support for the primary divergence of Pitheciidae in Platyrrhini, and our results suggest a sister grouping of African and non-African colobines within Colobinae and of Cercopithecini and Papionini within Cercopthecinae. Date estimates for nodes within each family and genus are presented, with estimates for key splits including: Strepsirrhini-Haplorrhini 64 million years ago (MYA), Lemuriformes-Lorisiformes 52 MYA, Platyrrhini-Catarrhini 43 MYA and Cercopithecoidea-Hominoidea 29 MYA. We present an up-to-date, comprehensive estimate of the structure and tempo of primate evolutionary history. Although considerable gaps remain in our knowledge of the primate phylogeny, increased data sampling, particularly from nuclear loci, will be able to provide further resolution.BMC Evolutionary Biology 01/2009; 9:259. · 3.52 Impact Factor