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J Immunol. 2007 Jul 15;179(2):854-68.

KIR2DS1-positive NK cells mediate alloresponse against the C2 HLA-KIR ligand group in vitro.

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Department of Pediatrics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The inhibitory 2DL1 and activating 2DS1 killer Ig-like receptors (KIR) both have shared ligand specificity for codon sequences in the C2 group HLA-Cw Ags. In this study, we have investigated NK cell activation by allogeneic target cells expressing different combinations of the HLA-KIR ligand groups C1, C2, and Bw4. We demonstrate that fresh NK cells as well as IL-2-propagated NK cells from 2DS1-positive donors that are homozygous for the C1 ligand group are activated in vitro by B lymphoblastoid cell lines expressing the C2 group. This response is, in part, due to the absence of C1 group recognition mediated by the inhibitory receptor 2DL2/3. This "missing self" alloresponse to C2, however, is rarely observed in NK cells from donors lacking 2DS1. Even in presence of 2DS1, the NK alloresponse is dramatically reduced in donors that have C2 group as "self." Analysis of selected NK clones that express 2DS1 mRNA and lack mRNA for 2DL1 demonstrates that activation by the C2 ligand and mAb cross-linking of 2DS1 in these clones induces IFN-gamma. Furthermore, this C2 group-induced activation is inhibited by Abs to both HLA class I and the receptor. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that NK cells from 2DS1-positive donors are activated by target cells that express the C2 group as an alloantigen. This leads to increased IFN-gamma-positive fresh NK cells and induces NK allocytotoxicity in IL2-propagated polyclonal NK cells and NK clones. This study also provides support for the concept that incompatibility for the HLA-KIR ligand groups C1, C2, and Bw4 dominates NK alloactivation in vitro.

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