Tethering of Intercellular Adhesion Molecule on Target Cells Is Required for LFA-1-Dependent NK Cell Adhesion and Granule Polarization

Molecular and Cellular Immunology Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 4.92). 09/2010; 185(5):2918-26. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1000761
Source: PubMed


Alpha(L)beta(2) integrin (LFA-1) has an important role in the formation of T cell and NK cell cytotoxic immunological synapses and in target cell killing. Binding of LFA-1 to ICAM on target cells promotes not only adhesion but also polarization of cytolytic granules in NK cells. In this study, we tested whether LFA-1-dependent NK cell responses are regulated by the distribution and mobility of ICAM at the surface of target cells. We show that depolymerization of F-actin in NK-sensitive target cells abrogated LFA-1-dependent conjugate formation and granule polarization in primary NK cells. Degranulation, which is not controlled by LFA-1, was not impaired. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments and particle tracking by total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy revealed that ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 were distributed in largely immobile clusters. ICAM clusters were maintained and became highly mobile after actin depolymerization. Moreover, reducing ICAM-2 mobility on an NK-resistant target cell through expression of ezrin, an adaptor molecule that tethers proteins to the actin cytoskeleton, enhanced LFA-1-dependent adhesion and granule polarization. Finally, although NK cells kept moving over freely diffusible ICAM-1 on a lipid bilayer, they bound and spread over solid-phase ICAM-1. We conclude that tethering, rather than clustering of ICAM, promotes proper signaling by LFA-1 in NK cells. Our findings suggest that the lateral diffusion of integrin ligands on cells may be an important determinant of susceptibility to lysis by cytotoxic lymphocytes.

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    • "Therefore, the mechanical forces generated at the synapse also have an important role in adhesion activation signaling. This observation is supported by the increased LFA-1-mediated adhesion of NK cells bound to targets in which intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is tethered and restrained, as opposed to freely diffusible.56 "
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