The CD94/NKG2-A complex is the inhibitory receptor for the nonclassical MHC class I molecule HLA-E on human NK cells. Here we studied the molecular mechanisms underlying the inhibitory activity of CD94/NKG2-A on NK cell functions by analyzing its interference on CD16-initiated signaling pathways involved in the control of cytolytic activity. Both tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of Syk kinase together with tyrosine phosphorylation of CD16 receptor ζ subunit are markedly inhibited by the coengagement of CD94/NKG2- A complex. As a downstream consequence, CD94/NKG2-A cross-linking impairs the CD16-induced activation of extracellular regulated kinases (ERKs), a pathway involved in NK cytotoxic function. The block of ERK activation is exerted at an early, PTK-dependent stage in the events leading to p21(ras) activation, as the CD16-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of Shc adaptor protein and the formation of Shc/Grb-2 complex are abrogated by CD94/NKG2-A simultaneous engagement. Our observations indicate that CD94/NKG2-A inhibits the CD16- triggered activation of two signaling pathways involved in the cytotoxic activity of NK cells. They thus provide molecular evidence to explain the inhibitory function of CD94/NKG2-A receptor on NK effector functions.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 15 1999|
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