Friday, October 25, 2013

Identification of a cellular ligand for the natural cytotoxicity receptor NKp44

With an array of activating and inhibitory receptors, natural killer (NK) cells are involved in the eradication of infected, transformed, and tumor cells. NKp44 is a member of the natural cytotoxicity receptor family, which is exclusively expressed on activated NK cells. Here, we identify natural cytotoxicity receptor NKp44 (NKp44L), a novel isoform of the mixed-lineage leukemia-5 protein, as a cellular ligand for NKp44. Unlike the other MLL family members, NKp44L is excluded from the nucleus, but expressed at the cell-surface level; its subcellular localization is being associated with the presence of a specific C-terminal motif. Strikingly, NKp44L has not been detected on circulating cells isolated from healthy individuals, but it is expressed on a large panel of the tumor and transformed cells. The sharply decreased NK lysis activity induced by anti-NKp44L antibodies directly demonstrates the role of NKp44L in cytotoxicity. Taken together, these results show that NKp44L could be critical for NK cell-mediated innate immunity. The identification and cellular distribution of NKp44L highlight the role of this self-molecule as a danger signal to alert the NK cell network (read more) Print this post

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