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J Immunol. 2008 May 15;180(10):6447-51.

Cutting edge: MHC class I-Ly49 interaction regulates neuronal function.

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Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.


MHC class I molecules (MHC-I) have been implicated in nervous system development in the mouse. In this study we present evidence for the interaction of MHC-I with the NK cell receptor Ly49 in primary cortical neuronal cultures. We show that MHC-I and Ly49 are expressed on neuronal soma and axon surfaces, with Ly49 also present on dendrites. Anti-MHC-I Abs reduce synapsin-I expression and enhance neurite outgrowth and neuronal death. Conversely, anti-Ly49 mAbs increase synapsin-I expression, reduce neurite outgrowth, and promote neuron viability. Because we show that Ly49 genes are selectively expressed in the adult brain, these findings suggest an unsuspected role for the MHC-I-Ly49 interaction in the development and function of the brain.

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