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J Immunol. 2006 Mar 1;176(5):2758-64.

B cell induction of IL-13 expression in NK cells: role of CD244 and SLAM-associated protein.

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Department of Molecular Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


NK cells are an important component of the innate immune system that can also interact with B cells in a mutually productive manner. We have previously shown that activated B cells can induce NK cells to up-regulate their secretion of IFN-gamma. In this study, we show that B cells, and, particularly, marginal zone B cells, can, in addition, induce NK cells via direct cell-cell interactions to express mRNA encoding the Th2 cytokine IL-13. The induction of NK cell IL-13 mRNA expression requires the ligation of the CD244 receptor by the CD48 ligand on B cells via signaling pathways that depend upon expression of the X-linked lymphoproliferative disease gene product, SH2D1A/DSHP/SAP (SLAM-associated protein, or SAP) in NK cells. Thus, the positive signals attributed to the B cell activation of CD244 on murine NK cells appears to be more similar to the activity of CD244 on human cells. The induction of IL-13 mRNA by B cells may account for the effect of NK cells on the generation of Th2-type responses in the presence of some adjuvants.

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