Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 8088332
Eur. J. Immunol. 1994 Sep;24(9):2110-4
Natural killer (NK) cells lyse their targets in a non-major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted manner, and the cytotoxicity can be inhibited by a number of MHC class I allele products, suggesting that NK cells may have a “positive receptor” that recognizes the target and a “negative receptor” that receives an inhibitory signal from class I. Since negative receptors could also exert their effect by masking a positive ligand, we have determined whether there may be a direct interaction between class I and an NK surface receptor by measuring cytotoxicity in the presence of a soluble class I molecule, Kd. Soluble Kd at micromolar concentrations could efficiently block NK cell cytotoxicity, suggesting that class I has a direct effect on cytotoxicity, rather than masking another target cell ligand. Inhibition required that Kd be at least divalent, probably because of its higher affinity or its ability to cross-link the NK surface receptor. In addition, the effect was independent of the peptide used to load Kd, and there was inhibition of cytotoxicity of NK cells derived from either H-2d or H-2b mice. Finally, depletion of NK cells expressing Ly-49 had no effect on the specific inhibition by Kd, raising the possibility that NK cells are endowed with additional negative receptors besides Ly-49. Taken together, these results suggest that there may be a family of NK receptors recognizing different class I alleles, which can receive negative signals by directly binding to class I on the target cell surface.