GPR56 as a novel marker identifying the CD56dull CD16+ NK cell subset both in blood stream and in inflamed peripheral tissues

Mariella Della Chiesa, Michela Falco, Silvia Parolini, Francesca Bellora, Andrea Petretto, Elisa Romeo, Mirna Balsamo, Marco Gambarotti, Francesca Scordamaglia, Giovanna Tabellini, Fabio Facchetti, William Vermi, Cristina Bottino, Alessandro Moretta, Massimo Vitale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To define novel human NK cell markers, we generated two mAbs specific for G-protein-coupled receptor 56 (GPR56), a surface glycoprotein that appears to be involved in cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix interactions. GPR56 has been described in selected normal tissues, and in certain tumors, while, as yet, its expression on leukocytes is unknown. In this study, we show that anti-GPR56 mAbs, among leukocytes, prevalently recognize NK cells. In particular, these mAbs brightly stain CD56dull CD161 NK cells while react poorly with CD56bright CD161/2 NK cells. Consistently, we found that GPR56 was expressed on NK cells populating inflamed peripheral tissues while it was absent in lymph node-derived NK cells. We also show that activating stimuli, such as cytokines or exposure to monocyte-derived dendritic cell, down-regulate NK cell expression of GPR56 both at the protein and at the transcriptional level. Interestingly, IL-18, known to induce de novo expression of CCR7 on CD56dull CD16+ NK cells, displayed the highest capability of modulating GPR56. Thus, together with the identification of GPR56 as a novel marker capable of discriminating different NK cells subsets, our data suggest that GPR56 may take part to the mechanisms regulating NK cell migration through the blood stream, peripheral tissues and lymph nodes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdxp116
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 14 2009


  • Cell activation
  • Cell surface molecules
  • Human
  • NK cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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