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J Immunol. 2007 Jan 15;178(2):652-6.

Cutting Edge: Distinct NK receptor profiles are imprinted on CD8 T cells in the mucosa and periphery during the same antigen challenge: role of tissue-specific factors.

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  • 1CBR Institute for Biomedical Research and Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


NK cell receptors (NKRs) modulate T lymphocyte responses by modifying the Ag activation threshold. However, what governs their expression on T cells remains unclear. In this study we show that different NKRs are imprinted on CD8 T cells in the gut mucosa and periphery during the same Ag challenge. After a viral, bacterial, and tumor challenge, most CD8 peritoneal exudate lymphocytes expressed NKG2A but not 2B4. In contrast, most CD8 intraepithelial lymphocytes exhibited 2B4 but not NKG2A. Our data suggest that tissue-specific factors may determine the pattern of NKR expression. In the gut, CD70 licensing appears to promote 2B4 induction on mucosal CD8 T cells. Conversely, retinoic acid produced by the intestinal dendritic cells may suppress NKG2A expression. Thus, tissue-specific factors regulate NKR expression and may confer T cells with differing effector functions in a tissue and site-specific manner.

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