Identification of NKG2A and NKp80 as specific natural killer cell markers in rhesus and pigtailed monkeys

Domenico Mavilio, Janet Benjamin, Diana Kim, Gabriella Lombarde, Marybeth Daucher, Audrey Kinter, Elizabeth Nies-Kraske, Emanuela Marcenaro, Alessandro Moretta, Anthony S. Fauci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigations of natural killer (NK) cells in simian models of disease have been hampered by a lack of appropriate phenotypic markers and by an inadequate understanding of the regulation of NK cell activities. In the present study, a panel of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for various human NK receptors was screened for cross-reactivity with NK cells from rhesus macaques and pigtailed macaques. Flow cytometric analyses using anti-human NKG2A and anti-human NKp80 mAbs individually, and particularly in combination with anti-CD16 mAb, allowed for the identification of the entire NK cell population in both species. NK cells in monkeys were generally identified by negative selection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) for the absence of T-cell, B-cell, and monocyte markers. mAb-mediated ligation of NKp80 induced NK cell cytotoxicity, while in the case of NKG2A it displayed a clear capability to inhibit the lysis of target cells by NK cells from macaques, as well as from humans. This new phenotypic and functional characterization of NKG2A and NKp80 in rhesus and pigtailed macaque NK cells provides a new approach in the analysis of their innate immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1718-1725
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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