CD94, a type II membrane protein containing a C-type lectin domain, has been shown to be involved in natural killer (NK) cell-mediated recognition of different HLA allotypes. The inhibitory form of the CD94 receptor has recently been identified by the specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) Z199. Herein, we demonstrate that the inhibitory receptor is in fact a complex formed by the covalent association of CD94 with the NKG2-A molecule (Mr ~ 43 kDa), another member of the C-type lectin superfamily, and that Z199 mAb specifically recognize NKG2-A molecules. Although the NKG2-A-encoding cDNA has been known for several years, the corresponding protein and its possible function remained undefined. Moreover, we show that the NKG2-B protein, an alternatively spliced product of the NKG2-A gene, can also assemble with CD94. Remarkably, both NKG2-A and NKG2-B proteins contain cytoplasmic immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motifs (ITIM). This may provide the molecular basis of the inhibitory function mediated by the CD94/NKG2-A receptor complexes.
- Major histocompatibility complex
- Natural killer cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas