240,778 research outputs found

    'Unlicensed' natural killer cells dominate the response to cytomegalovirus infection.

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    Natural killer (NK) cells expressing inhibitory receptors that bind to self major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I are 'licensed', or rendered functionally more responsive to stimulation, whereas 'unlicensed' NK cells lacking receptors for self MHC class I are hyporesponsive. Here we show that contrary to the licensing hypothesis, unlicensed NK cells were the main mediators of NK cell-mediated control of mouse cytomegalovirus infection in vivo. Depletion of unlicensed NK cells impaired control of viral titers, but depletion of licensed NK cells did not. The transfer of unlicensed NK cells was more protective than was the transfer of licensed NK cells. Signaling by the tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1 limited the proliferation of licensed NK cells but not that of unlicensed NK cells during infection. Thus, unlicensed NK cells are critical for protection against viral infection

    Human natural killer cell committed thymocytes and their relation to the T cell lineage.

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    Recent studies have demonstrated that mature natural killer (NK) cells can be grown from human triple negative (TN; CD3-, CD4-, CD8-) thymocytes, suggesting that a common NK/T cell precursor exists within the thymus that can give rise to both NK cells and T cells under appropriate conditions. In the present study, we have investigated human fetal and postnatal thymus to determine whether NK cells and their precursors exist within this tissue and whether NK cells can be distinguished from T cell progenitors. Based on the surface expression of CD56 (an NK cell-associated antigen) and CD5 (a T cell-associated antigen), three phenotypically distinctive populations of TN thymocytes were identified. CD56+, CD5-; CD56-, CD5-, and CD56-, CD5+. The CD56+, CD5- population of TN thymocytes, although displaying a low cytolytic function against NK sensitive tumor cell targets, were similar in antigenic phenotype to fetal liver NK cells, gave rise to NK cell clones, and were unable to generate T cells in mouse fetal thymic organ cultures (mFTOC). This population of thymocytes represents a relatively mature population of lineage-committed NK cells. The CD56-, CD5- population of TN thymocytes were similar to thymic NK cells in antigenic phenotype and NK cell clonogenic potential. Clones derived from this population of TN thymocytes acquired CD56 surface expression and NK cell cytolytic function. CD56-, CD5- TN thymocytes thus contain a novel population of NK cell-committed precursors. The CD56-, CD5- population of TN thymocytes also contains a small percentage of CD34+ cells, which demonstrate no in vitro clonogenic potential, but possess T cell reconstituting capabilities in mFTOC. The majority of TN thymocytes do not express CD56, but coexpress CD34 and CD5. These CD56-, CD5+, CD34+ cells demonstrate no NK or T cell clonogenic potential, but are extremely efficient in repopulating mFTOC and differentiating into CD3+, CD4+, CD8+ T cells. The results of this investigation have identified NK cells and NK cell precursors in the human thymus and have shown that these cell types are unable to differentiate along the T cell lineage pathway. Thus, while a common NK/T cell progenitor likely exists, once committed to the NK cell lineage these cells no longer have the capacity to develop along the T cell developmental pathway

    Differential Targeting of Stem Cells and Differentiated Glioblastomas by NK Cells.

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    We have recently shown that Natural Killer (NK) cells control survival and differentiation of Cancer Stem-like Cells (CSCs) through two distinct phenotypes of cytotoxic and anergic NK cells, respectively. In this report, brain CSCs and their serum and NK cell differentiated counterparts were studied. Serum-differentiated brain CSCs were significantly less susceptible to NK cells and CTL direct cytotoxicity as well as NK cell mediated Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC), whereas their CSCs were highly susceptible. The levels of CD44 and EGFR were higher in brain tumor CSCs when compared to the serum-differentiated tumors. No differences could be observed for the expression of MHC class I between brain tumor stem cells and their serum-differentiated counterparts. Moreover, supernatants from the combination of IL-2 and anti-CD16mAb treated NK cells (anergized NK cells) induced resistance of brain tumor CSCs to NK cell mediated cytotoxicity. Unlike serum-differentiated CSCs, NK supernatant induced differentiation and resistance to cytotoxicity in brain CSCs correlated with the increased expression of CD54 and MHC class I. The addition of anti-MHC class I antibody moderately inhibited NK mediated cytotoxicity against untreated or serum-differentiated CSCs, whereas it increased cytotoxicity against NK supernatant differentiated tumors. Therefore, two distinct mechanisms govern serum and NK supernatant mediated differentiation of brain tumors

    Resistance to cytotoxicity and sustained release of interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 in the presence of decreased interferon-╬│ after differentiation of glioblastoma by human natural killer cells.

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    Natural killer (NK) cells are functionally suppressed in the glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumor microenvironment. We have recently shown that survival and differentiation of cancer stem-like cells (CSCs)/poorly differentiated tumors are controlled through two distinct phenotypes of cytotoxic and non-cytotoxic/split anergized NK cells, respectively. In this paper, we studied the function of NK cells against brain CSCs/poorly differentiated GBM and their NK cell-differentiated counterparts. Brain CSCs/poorly differentiated GBM, differentiated by split anergized NK supernatants (supernatants from NK cells treated with IL-2 + anti-CD16mAb) expressed higher levels of CD54, B7H1 and MHC-I and were killed less by the NK cells, whereas their CSCs/poorly differentiated counterparts were highly susceptible to NK cell lysis. Resistance to NK cells and differentiation of brain CSCs/poorly differentiated GBM by split anergized NK cells were mediated by interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. Brain CSCs/poorly differentiated GBM expressed low levels of TNFRs and IFN-γRs, and when differentiated and cultured with IL-2-treated NK cells, they induced increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-6 and chemokine IL-8 in the presence of decreased IFN-γ secretion. NK-induced differentiation of brain CSCs/poorly differentiated GBM cells was independent of the function of IL-6 and/or IL-8. The inability of NK cells to lyse GBM tumors and the presence of a sustained release of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and chemokine IL-8 in the presence of a decreased IFN-γ secretion may lead to the inadequacy of NK cells to differentiate GBM CSCs/poorly differentiated tumors, thus failing to control tumor growth

    Genetically modified natural killer cells specifically recognizing the tumor-associated antigens ErbB2/HER2 and EpCAM

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    The continuously growing natural killer (NK) cell line NK-92 is highly cytotoxic against malignant cells of various origin without affecting normal human cells. Based on this selectivity, the potential of NK-92 cells for adoptive therapy is currently being investigated in phase I clinical studies. To further enhance the antitumoral activity of NK-92 cells and expand the range of tumor entities suitable for NK-92-based therapies, here by transduction with retroviral vectors we have generated genetically modified NK-92 cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors specific either for the tumor-associated ErbB2 (HER2/neu) antigen or the human Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (Ep-CAM). Both antigens are overexpressed by many tumors of epithelial origin. The chimeric antigen receptors consist of either the ErbB2 specific scFv(FRP5) antibody fragment or the Ep-CAM specific scFv(MOC31), a flexible hinge region derived from CD8, and transmembrane and intracellular regions of the CD3 zeta chain. Transduced NK-92-scFv(FRP5)-zeta or NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-zeta cells express high levels of the fusion proteins on the cell surface as determined by FACS analysis. In europium release assays no difference in cytotoxic activity of NK-92 and transduced NK-92 cells towards ErbB2 or Ep-CAM negative targets was found. However, even at low effector to target ratios transduced NK-92 cells specifically and efficiently lysed established ErbB2 or Ep-CAM expressing tumor cells that were completely resistant to cytolytic activity of parental NK-92 cells. Similarly, ErbB2-positive primary breast cancer cells isolated from pleural effusions of patients with recurrent disease were selectively killed by NK-92-scFv(FRP5)-zeta. In an in vivo model in immunodeficient mice treatment with retargeted NK-92-scFv(FRP5)-zeta, but not parental NK-92 cells resulted in markedly delayed growth of ErbB2 transformed cancer cells. These results demonstrate that efficient retargeting of NK-92 cytotoxicity can be achieved, and might allow the generation of potent cell-based therapeutics for the treatment of ErbB2 and Ep-CAM expressing malignancies. This therapeutic approach might be applicable for a large variety of different cancers where suitable cell surface antigens have been identified

    Uterine natural killer cell heterogeneity: Lessons from mouse models

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    Natural killer (NK) cells are the most abundant lymphocytes at the maternal-fetal interface. Epidemiological data implicate NK cells in human pregnancy outcomes. Discoveries using mouse NK cells have guided subsequent advances in human NK cell biology. However, it remains challenging to identify mouse and human uterine NK (uNK) cell function(s) because of the dynamic changes in the systemic-endocrinological and local uterine structural microenvironments during pregnancy. This review discusses functional similarities and differences between mouse and human NK cells at the maternal-fetal interface

    Identification of a porcine liver eomes-high-T-bet-low NK cell subset that resembles human liver resident NK cells

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    Natural killer (NK) cells are cells of the innate immunity and play an important role in the defense against viral infections and cancer, but also contribute to shaping adaptive immune responses. Long-lived tissue-resident NK cells have been described in man and mouse, particularly in the liver, contributing to the idea that the functional palette of NK cells may be broader than originally thought, and may include memory-like responses and maintaining tissue homeostasis. Remarkably, liver resident (lr)NK cells in man and mouse show substantial species-specific differences, in particular reverse expression patterns of the T-box transcription factors Eomesodermin (Eomes) and T-bet (Eomes(high)T-bet(low) in man and vice versa in mouse). In pig, compared to blood NK cells which are CD3-CD8 alpha(high) cells, the porcine liver contains an abundant additional CD3-CD8 alpha(dim) NK cell subpopulation. In the current study, we show that this porcine CD3-CD8 alpha(dim) liver NK population is highly similar to its human lrNK counterpart and therefore different from mouse lrNK cells. Like human lrNK cells, this porcine NK cell population shows an Eomes(high)T-bet(low) expression pattern. In addition, like its human counterpart, the porcine liver NK population is CD49e(-) and CXCR6(+). Furthermore, the porcine Eomes(high)T-bet(low) liver NK cell population is able to produce IFN-gamma upon IL-2/12/18 stimulation but lacks the ability to kill K562 or pseudorabies virus-infected target cells, although limited degranulation could be observed upon incubation with K562 cells or upon CD16 crosslinking. All together, these results show that porcine Eomes(high)T-bet(low) NK cells in the liver strongly resemble human lrNK cells, and therefore indicate that the pig may represent a unique model to study the function of these lrNK cells in health and disease

    Altered distribution of mucosal NK cells during HIV infection.

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    The human gut mucosa is a major site of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and infection-associated pathogenesis. Increasing evidence shows that natural killer (NK) cells have an important role in control of HIV infection, but the mechanism(s) by which they mediate antiviral activity in the gut is unclear. Here, we show that two distinct subsets of NK cells exist in the gut, one localized to intraepithelial spaces (intraepithelial lymphocytes, IELs) and the other to the lamina propria (LP). The frequency of both subsets of NK cells was reduced in chronic infection, whereas IEL NK cells remained stable in spontaneous controllers with protective killer immunoglobulin-like receptor/human leukocyte antigen genotypes. Both IEL and LP NK cells were significantly expanded in immunological non-responsive patients, who incompletely recovered CD4+ T cells on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). These data suggest that both IEL and LP NK cells may expand in the gut in an effort to compensate for compromised CD4+ T-cell recovery, but that only IEL NK cells may be involved in providing durable control of HIV in the gut
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