Selective cross-talk among natural cytotoxicity receptors in human natural killer cells

Raffaella Augugliaro, Silvia Parolini, Roberta Castriconi, Emanuela Marcenaro, Claudia Cantoni, Marina Nanni, Lorenzo Moretta, Alessandro Moretta, Cristina Bottino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cytolytic activity of human natural killer cells is induced by several triggering cell surface receptors upon interaction with specific cellular ligands. These receptors include NKp46, NKp30 and NKp44, collectively termed natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCR). Co-operation among NCR has been shown to occur for optimal recognition and killing of most tumor target get cells. In this study, we show that the mAb-mediated engagement and clustering of one or another NCR results in the activation of an identical set of tyrosine kinases. These kinases are included in the signaling cascade leading to tyrosine phosphorylation of different receptor-associated signal transducing molecules i.e. CD3ζ (associated with NKp46 and NKp30) and KARAP/DAP12 (associated with NKp44). In line with the notion that the engagement of inhibitory receptors prevents NCR-mediated responses, we show that the engagement of CD94/NKG2A virtually abrogates the tyrosine phosphorylation of the NCR-associated signaling molecules, i.e. it acts at the very early steps of the signaling cascade. Importantly, the engagement of a single NCR resulted in the activation of the signaling cascades associated with the other NCR. This "cross-talk" is confined to NKp46, NKp30 and NKp44 since neither CD16- nor KIR2DS4-associated signaling polypeptides were phosphorylated following the NCR engagement. These results suggest that a functional cross-talk specifically occurs among different NCR, possibly resulting in the amplification of the activating signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1241
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2003


  • Human NK cell
  • ITAM
  • Kinase
  • Natural cytotoxicity receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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