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Eur J Immunol. 1980 Mar;10(3):175-80.

A glycolipid on the surface of mouse natural killer cells.


Cytotoxic treatment with rabbit antiserum raised against purified glycosphingolipid "asialo GM1" was capable of eliminating natural killer (NK) activity of spleen cells from different inbred mouse strains including CBA/J, C57BL/6, BALB/c, AKR, and athymic nude mice. The anti-asialo GM1 antiserum showed little cross-reactivity with structurally related glycolipids, e.g. GM), GD 1 b and asialo GM2 in the microflocculation test. The specific reactivity of this antiserum with NK cells was confirmed by the quantitative absorption of anti-NK activity with graded amounts of asialo GM1 but not with other glycosphingolipids. The absorption of anti-brain-associated T cell antigen (anti-BAT) with asialo GM1 also effectively diminished its anti-NK activity, leaving the ability to kill T cells intact. This suggests that the antibody to asialo GM1 is responsible for the anti-NK activity contained in the anti-BAT antiserum. In contrast to the extreme sensitivity of NK cells to anti-asialo GM1, alloreactive cytotoxic T killer cells generated in the mixed lymphocyte culture were not killed by anti-asialo GM1 and complement. These results indicate that asialo GM1 is expressed on mouse NK cells in a high concentration.

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