A dual function of NKG2D ligands in NK-cell activation.
ABSTRACT: NK-cell killing requires both the expression of activating receptor ligands and low MHC class I expression by target cells. Here we demonstrate that the expression of any of the murine ligands for the NK-cell activating receptor NKG2D results in a concomitant reduction in MHC class I expression. We show this both in tumor cell lines and in vivo. NK-cell lysis is enhanced by the decrease in MHC class I expression, suggesting the change is biologically relevant. These results demonstrate that NKG2D ligand expression on target cells not only allows for activating receptor recognition, but also actively reduces expression of the inhibitory ligand, MHC class I, leading to enhanced recognition and killing by NK cells.
Project description:The powerful activating receptor NKG2D is expressed by natural killer (NK) cells and promotes cytotoxic lysis of cancer cells expressing NKG2D ligands (NKG2D-Ls). We report the effective induction of NKG2D-Ls, achieved with the naturally occurring polyphenol resveratrol, in a broad range of leukemia cells. In this study, resveratrol upregulated the NKG2D-Ls MHC class I chain-related proteins MICA and MICB, and UL16-binding proteins ULBP1, ULBP2, and ULBP3 in most of the leukemia cells analyzed. Ligand upregulation induced by resveratrol was impaired by pharmacological and genetic disruption of ataxia-telangiectasia mutated kinase, the main regulator of NKG2D-L expression. Leukemia cells treated with resveratrol were more susceptible to killing by NK cells than untreated cells, and the enhanced cytotoxicity of NK cells was blocked by treatment of NK cells with anti-NKG2D mAbs. Interestingly, resveratrol consistently upregulated the NKG2D receptor expression and enhanced NKG2D-mediated functions in resting NK cells obtained from healthy individuals. Therefore, resveratrol has attractive immunotherapeutic potential.
Project description:NK and T lymphocytes express both activating and inhibiting receptors for various members of the major histocompatibility complex class I superfamily (MHCISF). To evade immunologic cytotoxicity, many viruses interfere with the function of these receptors, generally by altering the displayed profile of MHCISF proteins on host cells. Using a structurally constrained hidden Markov model, we discovered an orthopoxvirus protein, itself distantly class I-like, that acts as a competitive antagonist of the NKG2D activating receptor. This orthopoxvirus MHC class I-like protein (OMCP) is conserved among cowpox and monkeypox viruses, secreted by infected cells, and bound with high affinity by NKG2D of rodents and humans (K(D) approximately 30 and 0.2 nM, respectively). OMCP blocks recognition of host-encoded ligands and inhibits NKG2D-dependent killing by NK cells. This finding represents a novel mechanism for viral interference with NKG2D and sheds light on intercellular recognition events underlying innate immunity against emerging orthopoxviruses.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity correlates with the ligation of activating receptors (e.g., NKG2D) by their ligands (e.g., MHC class I-related chains [MIC] A and B) on target cells. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) at high concentrations inhibit tumor growth and can increase NKG2D ligand expression on tumor targets, but are widely regarded as toxic to NK cells.We investigated the mechanism of entinostat, a benzamide-derivative narrow-spectrum HDACi, in augmenting the cytotoxicity of NK cells against human colon carcinoma and sarcoma by assessing gene and protein expression, histone acetylation, and cytotoxicity in in vitro and murine models.We observed that entinostat dose- and time-dependent increase in MIC expression in tumor targets and NKG2D in primary human NK cells, both correlating with increased acetylated histone 3 (AcH3) binding to associated promoters. Entinostat pretreatment of colon carcinoma and sarcoma cells, NK cells, or both led to enhanced overall cytotoxicity in vitro, which was reversed by NKG2D blockade, and inhibited growth of tumor xenografts. Lastly, we showed decreased expression of MICA and ULBP2 transcription in primary human osteosarcoma.Entinostat enhances NK cell killing of cancer cells through upregulation of both NKG2D and its ligands, suggesting an attractive approach for augmenting NK cell immunotherapy of solid tumors such as colon carcinoma and sarcomas.
Project description:Cell replacement therapy holds promise for a number of untreatable neurological or psychiatric diseases but the immunogenicity of cellular grafts remains controversial. Emerging stem cell and reprogramming technologies can be used to generate autologous grafts that minimize immunological concerns but autologous grafts may carry an underlying genetic vulnerability that reduces graft efficacy or survival. Healthy allogeneic grafts are an attractive and commercially scalable alternative if immunological variables can be controlled. Stem cells and immature neural progenitor cells (NPC) do not express major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens and can evade adaptive immune surveillance. Nevertheless, in an experimental murine model, allogeneic NPCs do not survive and differentiate as well as syngeneic grafts, even when traditional immunosuppressive treatments are used. In this study, we show that natural killer (NK) cells recognize the lack of self-MHC antigens on NPCs and pose a barrier to NPC transplantation. NK cells readily target both syngeneic and allogeneic NPC, and killing is modulated primarily by NK-inhibiting "self" class I MHC and NK-activating NKG2D-ligand expression. The absence of NKG2D signaling in NK cells significantly improves NPC-derived neuron survival and differentiation. These data illustrate the importance of innate immune mechanisms in graft outcome and the potential value of identifying and targeting NK cell-activating ligands that may be expressed by stem cell derived grafts.
Project description:Unlike T and B cells, NK cells lack variable, clonotypic receptors that recognize foreign antigens. Instead, NK cells depend on conserved receptors such as NKG2D. NKG2D recognizes a variety of inducible self-proteins that belong to the non-classical MHC class I family. They include ULBP (1-3), MIC (A & B) in human and H60 (a, b & c), Rae-1 (alpha-epsilon) and Mult1 in mice. These self-proteins are expressed due to pathological stimuli, share limited amino acid homology and form the molecular basis for NKG2D-mediated activation. Recent studies have vastly improved our understanding of NKG2D receptor-mediated activation, signaling and function. However, a detailed knowledge on the immunobiology of its ligands is lacking. How many is too many? Is NKG2D the only receptor for these ligands? Where are these ligands expressed? What are the molecular mechanisms that regulate their expression? Do normal cells express these ligands? Does the communication between NKG2D receptor and its ligands travel through a two way road? If so, what do the 'target' cells get in turn, only death? How efficient are these ligands as molecular targets for NK cell-mediated tumor immunotherapy?
Project description:Understanding how hepatitis C virus (HCV) induces and circumvents the host's natural killer (NK) cell-mediated immunity is of critical importance in efforts to design effective therapeutics. We report here the decreased expression of the NKG2D activating receptor as a novel strategy adopted by HCV to evade NK-cell mediated responses. We show that chronic HCV infection is associated with expression of ligands for NKG2D, the MHC class I-related Chain (MIC) molecules, on hepatocytes. However, NKG2D expression is downmodulated on circulating NK cells, and consequently NK cell-mediated cytotoxic capacity and interferon-? production are impaired. Using an endotoxin-free recombinant NS5A protein, we show that NS5A stimulation of monocytes through Toll-like Receptor 4 (TLR4) promotes p38- and PI3 kinase-dependent IL-10 production, while inhibiting IL-12 production. In turn, IL-10 triggers secretion of TGF? which downmodulates NKG2D expression on NK cells, leading to their impaired effector functions. Moreover, culture supernatants of HCV JFH1 replicating Huh-7.5.1 cells reproduce the effect of recombinant NS5A on NKG2D downmodulation. Exogenous IL-15 can antagonize the TGF? effect and restore normal NKG2D expression on NK cells. We conclude that NKG2D-dependent NK cell functions are modulated during chronic HCV infection, and demonstrate that this alteration can be prevented by exogenous IL-15, which could represent a meaningful adjuvant for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:MICA and MICB (MHC-class-I-related chain A/B) are transmembrane proteins expressed in pathological conditions that are ligands for NKG2D, an activating receptor found on cytotoxic lymphocytes. The recognition on target cells of NKG2D ligands leads to the activation of lysis and cytokine secretion by NK cells and T cells. Besides being expressed at the cell surface, MICA/B can be released as soluble proteins. Soluble NKG2D ligands downmodulate expression of the NKG2D receptor on lymphocytes, leading to a diminished cytotoxic response. Prior studies suggested that recruitment of MICA/B molecules to cholesterol-enriched microdomains was an important factor regulating the proteolytic release of these molecules. We now show that recruitment of MICA to these microdomains depends on palmitoylation of two cysteine residues that allow MICA molecules to reside in the membrane in the same domains as caveolin-1. Compared with WT molecules, nonpalmitoylated mutant MICA molecules were shed to the supernatant with low efficiency; however, both WT and mutant MICA were able to trigger NK cell cytotoxicity. These data suggest that the presence of NKG2D ligands at the plasma membrane is sufficient to activate cytotoxicity and reflect the need of different ligands to exploit different cellular pathways to reach the cell surface upon different stress situations.
Project description:The NKG2D receptor is expressed on the surface of NK, T, and macrophage lineage cells and plays an important role in antiviral and antitumor immunity. To evade NKG2D recognition, herpesviruses block the expression of NKG2D ligands on the surface of infected cells using a diverse repertoire of sabotage methods. Cowpox and monkeypox viruses have taken an alternate approach by encoding a soluble NKG2D ligand, the orthopoxvirus major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-like protein (OMCP), which can block NKG2D-mediated cytotoxicity. This approach has the advantage of targeting a single conserved receptor instead of numerous host ligands that exhibit significant sequence diversity. Here, we show that OMCP binds the NKG2D homodimer as a monomer and competitively blocks host ligand engagement. We have also determined the 2.25-Å-resolution crystal structure of OMCP from the cowpox virus Brighton Red strain, revealing a truncated MHC class I-like platform domain consisting of a beta sheet flanked with two antiparallel alpha helices. OMCP is generally similar in structure to known host NKG2D ligands but has notable variations in regions typically used to engage NKG2D. Additionally, the determinants responsible for the 14-fold-higher affinity of OMCP for human than for murine NKG2D were mapped to a single loop in the NKG2D ligand-binding pocket.
Project description:NKG2D is an important activating receptor for triggering the NK cell cytotoxic activity, although chronic engagement of specific ligands by NKG2D is also known to provoke decreased cell surface expression of the receptor and compromised NK cell function. We have studied the dynamics of surface NKG2D expression and how exposure to the specific ligand major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related molecule B (MICB) affects receptor traffic and fate. While in the NKL cell line and "resting" NK cells NKG2D was found principally at the cell surface, in activated primary NK cells an intracellular pool of receptor could also be found recycling to the plasma membrane. Exposure of NK cells to targets expressing MICB resulted in degradation of approximately 50% of total NKG2D protein and lysosomal degradation of the DAP10 adaptor molecule. Consistent with these observations, confocal microscopy experiments demonstrated that DAP10 trafficked to secretory lysosomes in both transfected NKL cells and in activated primary NK cells upon interaction with MICB-expressing target cells. Interestingly, polarization to the synapse of secretory lysosomes containing DAP10 was also observed. The implications of the intracellular traffic of the NKG2D/DAP10 receptor complex for NK cell activation are discussed. We propose that the rapid degradation of NKG2D/DAP10 observed coincident with recruitment of the receptor to the cytotoxic immune synapse may explain the loss of NKG2D receptor expression after chronic exposure to NKG2D ligands.
Project description:HIV up-regulates cell-surface expression of specific ligands for the activating NKG2D receptor, including ULBP-1, -2, and -3, but not MICA or MICB, in infected cells both in vitro and in vivo. However, the viral factor(s) involved in NKG2D ligand expression still remains undefined. HIV-1 Vpr activates the DNA damage/stress-sensing ATR kinase and promotes G(2) cell-cycle arrest, conditions known to up-regulate NKG2D ligands. We report here that HIV-1 selectively induces cell-surface expression of ULBP-2 in primary CD4(+) T lymphocytes by a process that is Vpr dependent. Importantly, Vpr enhanced the susceptibility of HIV-1-infected cells to NK cell-mediated killing. Strikingly, Vpr alone was sufficient to up-regulate expression of all NKG2D ligands and thus promoted efficient NKG2D-dependent NK cell-mediated killing. Delivery of virion-associated Vpr via defective HIV-1 particles induced analogous biologic effects in noninfected target cells, suggesting that Vpr may act similarly beyond infected cells. All these activities relied on Vpr ability to activate the ATR-mediated DNA damage/stress checkpoint. Overall, these results indicate that Vpr is a key determinant responsible for HIV-1-induced up-regulation of NKG2D ligands and further suggest an immunomodulatory role for Vpr that may not only contribute to HIV-1-induced CD4(+) T-lymphocyte depletion but may also take part in HIV-1-induced NK-cell dysfunction.