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Blood. 2013 Aug 22;122(8):1518-21. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-02-483503. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

Murine NK-cell licensing is reflective of donor MHC-I following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in murine cytomegalovirus responses.

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Department of Dermatology, University of California-Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.


Natural killer (NK) cells express inhibitory receptors with varied binding affinities to specific major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) haplotypes. NK cells can be classified as licensed or unlicensed based on their ability or inability to bind MHC-I, respectively. The role of donor vs host MHC on their development after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is not known. Following reciprocal MHC-disparate allogeneic transplants and during de novo NK-cell recovery, depletion of the licensed and not unlicensed population of NK cells as determined by the licensing patterns of donor MHC-I haplotypes, resulted in significantly increased susceptibility to murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection. A corresponding expansion of the licensed Ly49H(+) NK cells occurred with greater interferon γ production by these cells than unlicensed NK cells in the context of donor MHC-I. Thus, NK licensing behavior to MCMV corresponds to the donor, and not recipient, MHC haplotype after allo-HSCT in mice.

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