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Immunol Rev. 2001 Jun;181:149-57.

Rat natural killer cell receptor systems and recognition of MHC class I molecules.

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Department of Anatomy, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Blindern, Norway.


Rat natural killer (NK) cells recognize MHC-I molecules encoded by both the classical (RT1-A) and non-classical (RT1-C/E/M) MHC class I (MHC-I) regions. We have identified a receptor, the STOK2 antigen, which belongs to the Ly-49 family of killer cell lectin-like receptors, and we have localized the gene encoding it to the rat natural killer cell gene complex. We have also shown that it inhibits NK cytotoxicity when recognizing its cognate MHC-I ligand RT1-A1c on a target cell. This is the first inhibitory Ly-49-MHC-I interaction identified in the rat and highlights the great similarity between rat and mouse Ly-49 receptors and their MHC ligands. However, the mode of rat NK-cell recognition of target cells indicates that positive recognition of allo-MHC determinants, especially those encoded by the RT1-C/E/M region, is a prevalent feature. NK cells recruited to the peritoneum as a consequence of alloimmunization display positive recognition of allodeterminants. In one case, NK cells activated in this way have been shown to be specific for the immunizing, non-classical class I molecule RT1-Eu. These findings show that allospecific NK cells sometimes show features reminiscent of the adaptive immune response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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