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Nat Immunol. 2001 May;2(5):430-5.

Involvement of inhibitory NKRs in the survival of a subset of memory-phenotype CD8+ T cells.

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Centre d'Immunologie INSERM/CNRS de Marseille-Luminy, Case 906, 13288 Marseille, France.

Erratum in

  • Nat Immunol 2001 Jul;2(7):658.


Inhibitory natural killer receptors (NKRs) such as killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) in humans and Ly49 molecules in mice are expressed on NK cells and recognize multiple major histocompatibility (MHC) class I proteins. In humans and mice, a subset of CD8+ T cells also expresses NKRs and harbors a memory phenotype. Using mice that are transgenic for KIR2DL3 and its cognate HLA-Cw3 ligand, we show that engagement of inhibitory NKRs selectively drives the in vivo accumulation of a subset of memory-phenotype CD8+ T cells that express the beta chain of the interleukin 2 receptor. In vitro, recognition of MHC class I molecules by inhibitory NKRs on T cells down-regulated activation-induced cell death. These results unveil an MHC class I-dependent pathway that promotes the survival of a subset of memory-phenotype CD8+ T cells and also reveal an unexpected biological function for inhibitory NKRs on T cells.

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