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J Exp Med. 1994 Aug 1;180(2):537-43.

NKB1: a natural killer cell receptor involved in the recognition of polymorphic HLA-B molecules.

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  • 1Department of Human Immunology, DNAX Research Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Inc., Palo Alto, California 94304.


Natural killer (NK) cells kill normal and transformed hematopoietic cells that lack expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigens. Lysis of HLA-negative Epstein Barr virus-transformed B lymphoblastoid cell lines (B-LCL) by human NK cell clones can be inhibited by transfection of the target cells with certain HLA-A, -B, or -C alleles. NK cell clones established from an individual demonstrate clonal heterogeneity in HLA recognition and a single NK clone can recognize multiple alleles. We describe a potential human NK cell receptor (NKB1) for certain HLA-B alleles (e.g., HLA-B*5101 and-B*5801) identified by the mAb DX9. NKB1 is a 70-kD glycoprotein that is expressed on a subset of NK cells and NK cell clones. DX9 monoclonal antibody (mAb) specifically inhibits the interaction between NK cell clones and B-LCL targets transfected with certain HLA-B alleles, but does not affect recognition of HLA-A or HLA-C antigens. An individual NK cell clone can independently recognize B-LCL targets transfected with HLA-B or HLA-C antigens; however, DX9 mAb only affects interaction with transfectants expressing certain HLA-B alleles. These findings demonstrate the existence of NK cell receptors involved in the recognition of HLA-B and imply the presence of multiple receptors for MHC on an individual NK clone.

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