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J Biol Chem. 2013 Mar 22;288(12):8679-90. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.409672. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Polymorphism in human cytomegalovirus UL40 impacts on recognition of human leukocyte antigen-E (HLA-E) by natural killer cells.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.

Abstract

Natural killer (NK) cell recognition of the nonclassical human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecule HLA-E is dependent on the presentation of a nonamer peptide derived from the leader sequence of other HLA molecules to CD94-NKG2 receptors. However, human cytomegalovirus can manipulate this central innate interaction through the provision of a "mimic" of the HLA-encoded peptide derived from the immunomodulatory glycoprotein UL40. Here, we analyzed UL40 sequences isolated from 32 hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients experiencing cytomegalovirus reactivation. The UL40 protein showed a "polymorphic hot spot" within the region that encodes the HLA leader sequence mimic. Although all sequences that were identical to those encoded within HLA-I genes permitted the interaction between HLA-E and CD94-NKG2 receptors, other UL40 polymorphisms reduced the affinity of the interaction between HLA-E and CD94-NKG2 receptors. Furthermore, functional studies using NK cell clones expressing either the inhibitory receptor CD94-NKG2A or the activating receptor CD94-NKG2C identified UL40-encoded peptides that were capable of inhibiting target cell lysis via interaction with CD94-NKG2A, yet had little capacity to activate NK cells through CD94-NKG2C. The data suggest that UL40 polymorphisms may aid evasion of NK cell immunosurveillance by modulating the affinity of the interaction with CD94-NKG2 receptors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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