Characteristics of human NK clones: Target specificity and phenotype

P. Allavena, J. R. Ortaldo

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Clones derived from purified human large granular lymphocytes (LGL) of three different donors were expanded in culture medium supplemented with interleukin 2 (IL 2). Their cytotoxic activity was tested in a 51Cr-release cytotoxicity assay against a panel of three to five NK-susceptible tumor cell lines. Of 196 LGL clones tested, only 44 (22.4%) displayed significant cytotoxic activity. A heterogeneous pattern of reactivity was seen; 26 clones (59%) killed all the targets within the panel tested, whereas 18 clones (41%) had a more restricted specificity. Among these 18 clones, 12 lysed only one target (K562, six clones; ADCC, three clones; Daudi, two clones; MOLT-4, one clone), whereas the other six killed two different targets (ADCC and A1ab, one clone; K562 and MOLT-4, five clones). Clones derived from LGL preselected for positive reactivity with the monoclonal antibodies (MoAb) αOKM1, αOKT10 and βB73.1 also demonstrated either broad or restricted patterns of cytotoxicity. The LGL reactive with MoAb αB73.1 gave a high percentage of cytotoxic clones. Phenotype analysis showed that clones could express both antigens associated with T cells (i.e., OKT3, OKT4, and OKT8) and antigens shared by LGL (i.e., OKM1, OKT10, and B73/1). The pattern of surface markers varied considerably among the clones; however, no clear correlation between the pattern of antigenic phenotype and cytotoxic activity was seen. These data show that clones derives from purified preparations of LGL present different functional and antigenic characteristics, and support the hypothesis that the heterogeneity of the entire NK population is attributable, at least in part, to a mixture of clones that vary substantially in their target specificities and phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2363-2369
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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