Information on natural killer (NK)-cell receptor-ligand interactions involved in the response to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is limited and essentially based on the study of infected fibroblasts. Experimental conditions were set up to characterize the NK response to HCMV-infected myeloid dendritic cells (DCs). Monocyte-derived DCs (moDCs) infected by the TB40/E HCMV strain down-regulated the expression of human leukocyte antigen class I molecules and specifically activated autologous NK-cell populations. NKG2D ligands appeared virtually undetectable in infected moDCs, reflecting the efficiency of immune evasion mechanisms, and explained the lack of antagonistic effects of NKG2D-specific monoclonal antibody. By contrast, DNAM-1 and DNAM-1 ligands (DNAM-1L)-specific monoclonal antibodies inhibited the NK response at 48 hours after infection, although the impact of HCMV-dependent down-regulation of DNAM-1L in infected moDCs was perceived at later stages. moDCs constitutively expressed ligands for NKp46 and NKp30 natural cytotoxicity receptors, which were partially reduced on HCMV infection; yet, only NKp46 appeared involved in the NK response. In contrast to previous reports in fibroblasts, human leukocyte antigen-E expression was not preserved in HCMV-infected moDCs, which triggered CD94/ NKG2A+ NK-cell activation. The results provide an insight on key receptor-ligand interactions involved in the NK-cell response against HCMV-infected moDCs, stressing the importance of the dynamics of viral immune evasion mechanisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology