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Eur J Immunol. 2005 Mar;35(3):766-75.

The role of TCR stimulation and TGF-beta in controlling the expression of CD94/NKG2A receptors on CD8 T cells.

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Center for Immunology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA.


Following antigen recognition, murine CD8 T cells express CD94/NKG2A receptors. Our results show that this up-regulation occurs rapidly in vitro and is accompanied by an approximately 8-fold increase in CD94 and approximately 125-fold increase in NKG2A mRNA. In contrast, only a twofold increase in NKG2C mRNA is noted. The addition of TGF-beta, but not IL-10, IL-12 or IL-15, leads to a further increase in cell membrane expression of these receptors, as well as a approximately 6-fold increase in mRNA for both chains. TGF-beta also increases CD94/NKG2A expression on memory CD8 T cells that are re-exposed to antigen. The effect of TGF-beta on increasing CD94/NKG2A expression on both naive and memory CD8 T cells occurs only when there is a concurrent stimulation through the TCR. In contrast, TGF-beta does not increase expression of CD94/NKG2A on resting or activated NK cells. We also show by using purified CD8 T cells, that TGF-beta acts directly on these cells. These results implicate a role for both antigen and TGF-beta in increasing expression of inhibitory CD94/NKG2A receptors on CD8 T cells.

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