CD16 surface molecules regulate the cytolytic function of CD3-CD16+ human natural killer cells

A. Moretta, G. Tambussi, E. Ciccone, D. Pende, G. Melioli, L. Moretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monoclonal (IgG) antibodies (MAbs) directed to CD16 molecules efficiently induced lysis of the IgG-binding P815 target cells. A similar effect was observed with selected anti-CD2 MAbs. While combinations of 2 appropriate anti-CD2 MAbs were required for induction of T lymphocyte activation, single stimulatory anti-CD2 MAbs were sufficient for inducing cytolytic function in CD3-CD16+ lymphocytes. In order to study possible regulatory mechanisms existing in the process of activation and induction of the cytolytic machinery of CD3-CD16+ effector cells, we utilized the anti-CD16 OKNK MAb. Being of IgM isotype, the OKNK MAb does not allow cross-linking between CD3-CD16+ lymphocytes and target cells. Pre-treatment of effector cells with OKNK MAb sharply inhibited the target cell lysis induced by either anti-CD16 (IgG) MAbs or stimulatory anti-CD2 MAb. Moreover, a strong inhibitory activity of PHA-induced target cell lysis and even of 'spontaneous' lysis (at high effector:target ratio) was observed. In contrast, in CD3+CD16+ clones, OKNK MAb selectively inhibited the cell triggering induced by anti-CD16 MAbs (but not by anti-CD3, anti-CD2 MAbs or PHA). Our data indicate that CD16 receptor molecules expressed by CD3-CD16+ lymphocytes down-regulate cell responses to anti-CD2 MAbs or PHA, and then exert a regulatory role in the cytolytic function of these cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-730
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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