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Eur J Immunol. 1999 Nov;29(11):3683-90.

MHC class Ia molecules alone control NK-mediated bone marrow graft rejection.

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Unité d'Immunité Cellulaire Antivirale, Institut Pasteur, Département SIDA-Rétrovirus, Paris, France.


Mice with functionally deleted genes encoding MHC class I heavy (H-2K(b), H-2D(b)) and light (beta2-microglobulin) chains were used in bone marrow cell transfer experiments to study the role of class Ia and Ib molecules in NK cell function. Absence of H-2K(b) and absence of H-2D(b) on bone marrow cells resulted in complete and in almost complete NK-mediated rejection, respectively. Absence of either H-2 class Ib (at least when expressed in H-2 class Ia-deficient mice) or cell surface class Ia free heavy chains did not result in bone marrow rejection. Thus, in C57BL/6 adult mice, the inactivation of NK cells required for bone marrow cell engraftment relies entirely upon-H-2 class Ia molecules. These results imply the existence of an inhibitory receptor which recognizes either directly or indirectly H-2D(b) molecules and further suggest that in C57BL/6 mice the NK cells which do not express a H-2K(b) specific inhibitory receptor necessarily express an H-2D(b)-specific one.

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