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Int Immunol. 2001 Aug;13(8):1043-52.

Biphasic response of NK cells expressing both activating and inhibitory killer Ig-like receptors.

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  • 1Cancer Research Unit, The Canberra Hospital, Canberra, ACT 2606, Australia.


NK cells can co-express inhibitory and activating killer Ig-like receptors (KIR) recognizing the same HLA class I ligand. We present evidence from experiments with NK cells expressing both activating (KIR2DS2) and inhibitory (KIR2DL2 and KIR2DL3) receptors that the activating KIR can function without apparent interference from the inhibitory KIR. These studies used CD158b mAb that is equally reactive with KIR2DS2, KIR2DL2 and KIR2DL3. First, we show using plastic-immobilized CD158b mAb that the activating KIR2DS2 is stimulated, resulting in NK cell division and degranulation. Second, we show using soluble CD158b mAb and FcRII (+) P815 cells that high concentrations of CD158b mAb trigger the inhibitory KIR, whereas low concentrations stimulate the activating KIR2DS2 resulting in NK cell division and cytolysis. These results demonstrate that the activating KIR2DS2 can function on cells co-expressing the inhibitory KIR2DL2 and/or KIR2DL3, indicating the potential for independent function of activating KIR with natural ligand.

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