Involvement of HLA class I alleles in natural killer (NK) cell-specific functions: Expression of HLA-Cw3 confers selective protection from lysis by alloreactive NK clones displaying a defined specificity (specificity 2)

E. Ciccone, D. Pende, O. Viale, A. Than, C. Di Donato, A. M. Orengo, R. Biassoni, S. Verdiani, A. Amoroso, A. Moretta, L. Moretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study was designed to identify the target molecules of the natural killer (NK) cell-mediated recognition of normal allogeneic target cells. As previously shown, the gene(s) governing the first NK-defined allospecificity (specificity 1) were found to be localized in the major histocompatibility complex region between BF gene and HLA-A. In addition, the analysis of a previously described family revealed that a donor (donor 81) was heterozygous for three distinct NK-defined allospecificities (specificities 1, 2, and 5). HLA variants were derived from the B-Epstein-Barr virus cell line of donor 81 by γ irradiation followed by negative selection using monoclonal antibodies specific for the appropriate HLA allele. Several variants were derived that lacked one or more class I antigen expressions. These variants were analyzed for the susceptibility to lysis by NK clones recognizing different allospecificities. The loss of HLA-A did not modify the phenotype (i.e., 'resistance to lysis'). On the other hand, a variant lacking expression of all class I antigens became susceptible to lysis by all alloreactive clones. Variants characterized by the selective loss of class I antigens coded for by the maternal chromosome became susceptible to lysis by anti-2-specific clones. Conversely, variants selectively lacking class I antigens coded for by paternal chromosome became susceptible to lysis by anti-1 and anti-5 clones (but not by anti-2 clones). Since the Cw3 allele was lost in the variant that acquired susceptibility to lysis by anti-2 clones and, in informative families, it was found to cosegregate with the character 'resistance to lysis' by anti-2 clones, we analyzed whether Cw3 could represent the element conferring selective resistance to lysis by anti-2 clones. To this end, murine P815 cells transfected with HLA Cw3 (or with other HLA class I genes) were used as target cells in a cytolytic assay in which effector cells were represented by alloreactive NK clones directed against different specificities. Anti-2-specific clones efficiently lysed untransfected or A2-, A3-, and A24-transfected P815 cells, while they failed to lyse Cw3-transfected cells. NK clones recognizing specificities other than specificity 2 lysed untransfected or Cw3-transfected cells. Thus, the loss of Cw3 resulted in the de novo appearance of susceptibility to lysis, and transfection of the HLA-negative P815 cells with Cw3 resulted in resistance to lysis by anti-2 clones. Therefore, we can infer that Cw3 expression on (both human and murine) target cells confers selective protection from lysis mediated by anti-2 NK clones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-971
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Volume176
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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