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Blood. 1998 Apr 1;91(7):2369-80.

Expression of functional CD32 molecules on human NK cells is determined by an allelic polymorphism of the FcgammaRIIC gene.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Human natural killer (NK) cells were thought to express only FcgammaRIIIA (CD16), but recent reports have indicated that NK cells also express a second type of FcgammaR, ie, FcgammaRII (CD32). We have isolated, cloned, and sequenced full-length cDNAs of FcgammaRII from NK cells derived from several normal individuals that may represent four different products of the FcgammaRIIC gene. One transcript (IIc1) is identical with the already described FcgammaRIIc form. The other three (IIc2-IIc4) appear to represent unique, alternatively spliced products of the same gene, and include a possible soluble form. Analyses of the full-length clones have revealed an allelic polymorphism in the first extracellular exon, resulting in either a functional open reading frame isoform or a null allele. Stable transfection experiments enabled us to determine a unique binding pattern of anti-CD32 monoclonal antibodies to FcgammaRIIc. Further analyses of NK-cell preparations revealed heterogeneity in CD32 expression, ranging from donors lacking CD32 expression to donors expressing high levels of CD32 that were capable of triggering cytotoxicity. Differences in expression were correlated with the presence or absence of null alleles. These data show that certain individuals express high levels of functional FcgammaRIIc isoforms on their NK cells.

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