Human-specific evolution of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor recognition of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules.
ABSTRACT: In placental mammals, natural killer (NK) cells are a population of lymphocytes that make unique contributions to immune defence and reproduction, functions essential for survival of individuals, populations and species. Modulating these functions are conserved and variable NK-cell receptors that recognize epitopes of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. In humans, for example, recognition of human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-E by the CD94:NKG2A receptor is conserved, whereas recognition of HLA-A, B and C by the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) is diversified. Competing demands of the immune and reproductive systems, and of T-cell and NK-cell immunity-combined with the segregation on different chromosomes of variable NK-cell receptors and their MHC class I ligands-drive an unusually rapid evolution that has resulted in unprecedented levels of species specificity, as first appreciated from comparison of mice and humans. Counterparts to human KIR are present only in simian primates. Observed in these species is the coevolution of KIR and the four MHC class I epitopes to which human KIR recognition is restricted. Unique to hominids is the emergence of the MHC-C locus as a supplier of specialized and superior ligands for KIR. This evolutionary trend is most highly elaborated in the chimpanzee. Unique to the human KIR locus are two groups of KIR haplotypes that are present in all human populations and subject to balancing selection. Group A KIR haplotypes resemble chimpanzee KIR haplotypes and are enriched for genes encoding KIR that bind HLA class I, whereas group B KIR haplotypes are enriched for genes encoding receptors with diminished capacity to bind HLA class I. Correlating with their balance in human populations, B haplotypes favour reproductive success, whereas A haplotypes favour successful immune defence. Evolution of the B KIR haplotypes is thus unique to the human species.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells serve essential functions in immunity and reproduction. Diversifying these functions within individuals and populations are rapidly-evolving interactions between highly polymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I ligands and variable NK cell receptors. Specific to simian primates is the family of Killer cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR), which recognize MHC class I and associate with a range of human diseases. Because KIR have considerable species-specificity and are lacking from common animal models, we performed extensive comparison of the systems of KIR and MHC class I interaction in humans and chimpanzees. Although of similar complexity, they differ in genomic organization, gene content, and diversification mechanisms, mainly because of human-specific specialization in the KIR that recognizes the C1 and C2 epitopes of MHC-B and -C. Humans uniquely focused KIR recognition on MHC-C, while losing C1-bearing MHC-B. Reversing this trend, C1-bearing HLA-B46 was recently driven to unprecedented high frequency in Southeast Asia. Chimpanzees have a variety of ancient, avid, and predominantly inhibitory receptors, whereas human receptors are fewer, recently evolved, and combine avid inhibitory receptors with attenuated activating receptors. These differences accompany human-specific evolution of the A and B haplotypes that are under balancing selection and differentially function in defense and reproduction. Our study shows how the qualitative differences that distinguish the human and chimpanzee systems of KIR and MHC class I predominantly derive from adaptations on the human line in response to selective pressures placed on human NK cells by the competing needs of defense and reproduction.
Project description:Modulation of human NK cell function by killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIR) and MHC class I is dominated by the bipartite interactions of inhibitory lineage III KIR with the C1 and C2 epitopes of HLA-C. In comparison, the ligand specificities and functional contributions of the activating lineage III KIR remain poorly understood. Using a robust, sensitive assay of KIR binding and a representative panel of 95 HLA class I targets, we show that KIR2DS1 binds C2 with ~50% the avidity of KIR2DL1, whereas KIR2DS2, KIR2DS3, and KIR2DS5 have no detectable avidity for C1, C2, or any other HLA class I epitope. In contrast, the chimpanzee has activating C1- and C2-specific lineage III KIR with strong avidity, comparable to those of their paired inhibitory receptors. One variant of chimpanzee Pt-KIR3DS2, the activating C2-specific receptor, has the same avidity for C2 as does inhibitory Pt-KIR3DL4, and a second variant has ~73% the avidity. Chimpanzee Pt-KIR3DS6, the activating C1-specific receptor, has avidity for C1 that is ~70% that of inhibitory Pt-KIR2DL6. In both humans and chimpanzees we observe an evolutionary trend toward reducing the avidity of the activating C1- and C2-specific receptors through selective acquisition of attenuating substitutions. However, the extent of attenuation has been extreme in humans, as exemplified by KIR2DS2, an activating C1-specific receptor that has lost all detectable avidity for HLA class I. Supporting such elimination of activating C1-specific receptors as a uniquely human phenomenon is the presence of a high-avidity activating C1-specific receptor (Gg-KIR2DSa) in gorilla.
Project description:The human killer cell Ig-like receptor (KIR) locus comprises two groups of KIR haplotypes, termed A and B. These are present in all human populations but with different relative frequencies, suggesting they have different functional properties that underlie their balancing selection. We studied the genomic organization and functional properties of the alleles of the inhibitory and activating HLA-C receptors encoded by KIR haplotypes. Because every HLA-C allotype functions as a ligand for KIR, the interactions between KIR and HLA-C dominate the HLA class I-mediated regulation of human NK cells. The C2 epitope is recognized by inhibitory KIR2DL1 and activating KIR2DS1, whereas the C1 epitope is recognized by inhibitory KIR2DL2 and KIR2DL3. This study shows that the KIR2DL1, KIR2DS1, and KIR2DL2/3 alleles form distinctive phylogenetic clades that associate with specific KIR haplotypes. KIR A haplotypes are characterized by KIR2DL1 alleles that encode strong inhibitory C2 receptors and KIR2DL3 alleles encoding weak inhibitory C1 receptors. In striking contrast, KIR B haplotypes are characterized by KIR2DL1 alleles that encode weak inhibitory C2 receptors and KIR2DL2 alleles encoding strong inhibitory C1 receptors. The wide-ranging properties of KIR allotypes arise from substitutions throughout the KIR molecule. Such substitutions can influence cell surface expression, as well as the avidity and specificity for HLA-C ligands. Consistent with the crucial role of inhibitory HLA-C receptors in self-recognition, as well as NK cell education and response, most KIR haplotypes have both a functional C1 and C2 receptor, despite the considerable variation that occurs in ligand recognition and surface expression.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are lymphocytes of the innate immune system able to recognize and kill tumors lacking self-MHC class I molecules. This "missing-self" recognition is mediated by the lack of engagement of MHC class I-specific inhibitory NK cell receptors that include the killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIR) in humans and Ly49 molecules in mice. A promising immunotherapeutic strategy against MHC class I(+) cancer cells is to block NK cell inhibitory receptors using monoclonal antibodies (mAb). However, interactions between MHC class I molecules and their inhibitory receptors are also required for the acquisition of NK cell functional competence, a process referred as to "education." In addition, inhibitory receptors are involved in self-tolerance on educated NK cells. Here, we developed a preclinical mouse model in which all NK cells are educated by a single transgenic inhibitory receptor, human KIR2DL3, through the engagement with its HLA-Cw3 ligand. This approach revealed that NK cells could be reprogrammed to control the development of mouse syngenic tumors in vivo. Moreover, in vivo anti-KIR mAb treatment induced the killing of HLA(+) target cells without breaking self-tolerance. Finally, the long-term infusion of anti-KIR mAb neither abolished NK cell education nor tumor cell recognition. Therefore, these results strongly support the use of inhibitory receptor blockade in cancer patients.
Project description:Interactions between HLA class I and killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIRs) diversify human NK cell responses. Dominant KIR ligands are the C1 and C2 epitopes of MHC-C, a young locus restricted to humans and great apes. C1- and C1-specific KIRs evolved first, being present in orangutan and functionally like their human counterparts. Orangutans lack C2 and C2-specific KIRs, but have a unique C1+C2-specific KIR that binds equally to C1 and C2. A receptor with this specificity likely provided the mechanism by which C2-KIR interaction evolved from C1-KIR while avoiding a nonfunctional intermediate, that is, either orphan receptor or ligand. Orangutan inhibitory MHC-C-reactive KIRs pair with activating receptors of identical avidity and specificity, contrasting with the selective attenuation of human activating KIRs. The orangutan C1-specific KIR reacts or cross-reacts with all four polymorphic epitopes (C1, C2, Bw4, and A3/11) recognized by human KIRs, revealing their structural commonality. Saturation mutagenesis at specificity-determining position 44 demonstrates that KIRs are inherently restricted to binding just these four epitopes, either individually or in combination. This restriction frees most HLA-A and HLA-B variants to be dedicated TCR ligands, not subject to conflicting pressures from the NK cell and T cell arms of the immune response.
Project description:Interactions between killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I ligands regulate the development and response of human natural killer (NK) cells. Natural selection drove an allele-level group A KIR haplotype and the HLA-C1 ligand to unusually high frequency in the Japanese, who provide a particularly informative population for investigating the mechanisms by which KIR and HLA polymorphism influence NK cell repertoire and function. HLA class I ligands increase the frequencies of NK cells expressing cognate KIR, an effect modified by gene dose, KIR polymorphism, and the presence of other cognate ligand-receptor pairs. The five common Japanese KIR3DLI allotypes have distinguishable inhibitory capacity, frequency of cellular expression, and level of cell surface expression as measured by antibody binding. Although KIR haplotypes encoding 3DL1*001 or 3DL1*005, the strongest inhibitors, have no activating KIR, the dominant haplotype encodes a moderate inhibitor, 3DL1*01502, plus functional forms of the activating receptors 2DL4 and 2DS4. In the population, certain combinations of KIR and HLA class I ligand are overrepresented or underrepresented in women, but not men, and thus influence female fitness and survival. These findings show how KIR-HLA interactions shape the genetic and phenotypic KIR repertoires for both individual humans and the population.
Project description:Alloreactive natural killer (NK) cells are an important influence on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) outcome. In HLA-mismatched HSCT, alloreactivity occurs when licensed donor NK cells expressing inhibitory killer Ig-like receptors (KIR) for donor MHC class I ligands recognize the lack of the class I ligands in the mismatched recipient ("missing self"). Studies in HLA-matched HSCT, however, have also demonstrated improved outcome in patients lacking class I ligands for donor inhibitory KIR ("missing ligand"), indicating that classically nonlicensed donor NK cells expressing KIR for non-self MHC class I ligands may exhibit functional competence in HSCT. We examined NK function in 16 recipients of T cell-depleted allografts from HLA-identical or KIR-ligand matched donors after myeloablative therapy. After HSCT, nonlicensed NK cells expressing inhibitory KIR for non-self class I exhibit robust intracellular IFN-gamma and cytotoxic response to target cells lacking cognate ligand, gradually becoming tolerized to self by day 100. These findings could not be correlated with cytokine environment or phenotypic markers of NK development, nor could they be attributed to non-KIR receptors such as CD94/NKG2A. These findings confirm that NK alloreactivity can occur in HLA-matched HSCT, where tolerance to self is either acquired by the stem cell-derived NK cell after exiting the bone marrow or where tolerance to self can be temporarily overcome.
Project description:Natural killer cells (NK cells) play a crucial role in tumor immunity. The function of the NK cells is regulated by various receptors expressed on the surface. Among them, the killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) is one of the most important. The ligand of KIR is major histocompatibility complex class-I (MHC class-I), which is also called human leukocyte antigen class-I (HLA class-I). The combination of HLA class-I and inhibitory KIRs could inhibit NK cells and induce autoimmune tolerance. Inhibitory KIRs were highly expressed on malignant tumor patients, which were related to poor prognosis. KIR/HLA class-I pathway affected the clinical outcomes of cancer through several mechanisms, and inhibitory KIRs could be an ideal target of immunotherapy strategy.
Project description:Under selection pressure from pathogens, variable NK cell receptors that recognize polymorphic MHC class I evolved convergently in different species of placental mammal. Unexpectedly, diversified killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIRs) are shared by simian primates, including humans, and cattle, but not by other species. Whereas much is known of human KIR genetics and genomics, knowledge of cattle KIR is limited to nine cDNA sequences. To facilitate comparison of the cattle and human KIR gene families, we determined the genomic location, structure, and sequence of two cattle KIR haplotypes and defined KIR sequences of aurochs, the extinct wild ancestor of domestic cattle. Larger than its human counterpart, the cattle KIR locus evolved through successive duplications of a block containing ancestral KIR3DL and KIR3DX genes that existed before placental mammals. Comparison of two cattle KIR haplotypes and aurochs KIR show the KIR are polymorphic and the gene organization and content appear conserved. Of 18 genes, 8 are functional and 10 were inactivated by point mutation. Selective inactivation of KIR3DL and activating receptor genes leaves a functional cohort of one inhibitory KIR3DL, one activating KIR3DX, and six inhibitory KIR3DX. Functional KIR diversity evolved from KIR3DX in cattle and from KIR3DL in simian primates. Although independently evolved, cattle and human KIR gene families share important function-related properties, indicating that cattle KIR are NK cell receptors for cattle MHC class I. Combinations of KIR and MHC class I are the major genetic factors associated with human disease and merit investigation in cattle.
Project description:Peptide selectivity is a feature of inhibitory receptors for MHC class I expressed by natural killer (NK) cells. CD94-NKG2A operates in tandem with the polymorphic killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIR) and Ly49 systems to inhibit NK cells. However, the benefits of having two distinct inhibitory receptor-ligand systems are not clear. We show that noninhibitory peptides presented by HLA-E can augment the inhibition of NKG2A(+) NK cells mediated by MHC class I signal peptides through the engagement of CD94 without a signaling partner. Thus, CD94 is a peptide-selective NK cell receptor, and NK cells can be regulated by nonsignaling interactions. We also show that KIR(+) and NKG2A(+) NK cells respond with differing stoichiometries to MHC class I down-regulation. MHC-I-bound peptide functions as a molecular rheostat controlling NK cell function. Selected peptides which in isolation do not inhibit NK cells can have different effects on KIR and NKG2A receptors. Thus, these two inhibitory systems may complement each other by having distinct responses to bound peptide and surface levels of MHC class I.