HLA-C levels impact natural killer cell subset distribution and function.
ABSTRACT: Differences in HLA-C expression are inversely correlated with HIV viral load set-point and slower progression to AIDS, linked to enhanced cytotoxic T cell immunity. Yet, beyond T cells, HLA-C serves as a dominant ligand for natural killer (NK) cell killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR). Thus, we speculated that HLA-C expression levels may also impact NK activity, thereby modulating HIV antiviral control. Phenotypic and functional profiling was performed on freshly isolated PBMCs. HLA-C expression was linked to changes in NK subset distribution and licensing, particularly in HLA-C1/C1, KIR2DL3+2DL2-individuals. Moreover, high levels of HLA-C, were associated with reduced frequencies of anergic CD56neg NKs and lower frequencies of KIR2DL1/2/3+ NK cells, pointing to an HLA-C induced influence on the NK cell development in the absence of disease. In HIV infection, several spontaneous controllers, that expressed higher levels of HLA-C demonstrated robust NK-IFN-? secretion in response to target cells, highlighting a second disease induced licensing phenotype. Thus this population study points to a potential role for HLA-C levels both in NK cell education and development.
Project description:The acquisition and maintenance of NK-cell function is mediated by inhibitory killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) through their interaction with HLA class I molecules. Recently, HLA-C expression levels were shown to be correlated with protection against multiple outcomes of HIV-1 infection; however, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. As HLA-C is the natural ligand for the inhibitory receptors KIR2DL1 and KIR2DL2/3, we sought to determine whether HLA-C group haplotypes affect NK-cell responses during primary HIV-1 infection. The phenotypes and functional capacity of NK cells derived from HIV-1-positive and HIV-1-negative individuals were assessed (N = 42 and N = 40, respectively). HIV-1 infection was associated with an increased frequency of KIR2DL1-3(+) NK cells. Further analysis showed that KIR2DL1(+) NK cells were selectively increased in individuals homozygous for HLA-C2, while HLA-C1-homozygous individuals displayed increased proportions of KIR2DL2/3(+) NK cells. KIR2DL1-3(+) NK cells were furthermore more polyfunctional during primary HIV-1 infection in individuals also encoding for their cognate HLA-C group haplotypes, as measured by degranulation and IFN-? and TNF-? production. These results identify a novel relationship between HLA-C and KIR2DL(+) NK-cell subsets and demonstrate that HLA-C-mediated licensing modulates NK-cell responses to primary HIV-1 infection.
Project description:Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cells are killer lymphocytes that provide defense against viral infections and tumor transformation. Analogous to that of CTL, interactions of killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) with specific human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I ligands calibrate NK cell education and response. Gene families encoding KIRs and HLA ligands are located on different chromosomes, and feature variation in the number and type of genes. The independent segregation of KIR and HLA genes results in variable KIR-HLA interactions in individuals, which may impact disease susceptibility. We tested whether KIR-HLA combinations are associated with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease, a bilateral granulomatous panuveitis that has strong association with HLA-DR4. We present a case control study of 196 VKH patients and 209 controls from a highly homogeneous native population of Japan. KIR and HLA class I genes were typed using oligonucleotide hybridization method and analyzed using two-tailed Fisher's exact probabilities. The incidence of Bx-KIR genotypes was decreased in VKH patients (odds ratio [OR] 0.58, P = 0.007), due primarily to a decrease in centromeric B-KIR motif and its associated KIRs 2DS2, 2DL2, 2DS3, and 2DL5B. HLA-B22, implicated in poor immune response, was increased in VKH (OR = 4.25, P = 0.0001). HLA-Bw4, the ligand for KIR3DL1, was decreased in VKH (OR = 0.59, P = 0.01). The KIR-HLA combinations 2DL2+C1/C2 and 3DL1+Bw4, which function in NK education, were also decreased in VKH (OR = 0.49, P = 0.012; OR = 0.59, P = 0.013). Genotypes missing these two inhibitory KIR-HLA combinations in addition to missing activating KIRs 2DS2 and 2DS3 were more common in VKH (OR = 1.90, P = 0.002). These results suggest that synergistic hyporesponsiveness of NK cells (due to poor NK education along with missing of activating KIRs) and CTL (due to HLA-B22 restriction) fail to mount an effective immune response against viral-infection that may trigger VKH pathogenesis in genetically susceptible individuals, such as HLA-DR4 carriers.
Project description:The highly polymorphic human leukocyte antigen (HLA) locus encodes cell surface proteins that are critical for immunity. HLA-A expression levels vary in an allele-dependent manner, diversifying allele-specific effects beyond peptide-binding preference. Analysis of 9763 HIV-infected individuals from 21 cohorts shows that higher HLA-A levels confer poorer control of HIV. Elevated HLA-A expression provides enhanced levels of an HLA-A-derived signal peptide that specifically binds and determines expression levels of HLA-E, the ligand for the inhibitory NKG2A natural killer (NK) cell receptor. HLA-B haplotypes that favor NKG2A-mediated NK cell licensing (i.e., education) exacerbate the deleterious effect of high HLA-A on HIV control, consistent with NKG2A-mediated inhibition impairing NK cell clearance of HIV-infected targets. Therapeutic blockade of HLA-E:NKG2A interaction may yield benefit in HIV disease.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Neonatal Natural Killer (NK) cells show functional impairment and expansion of a CD56 negative population of uncertain significance.<h4>Methods</h4>NK cells were isolated from cord blood and from adult donors. NK subpopulations were identified as positive or negative for the expression of CD56 and characterized for expression of granzyme B and surface markers by multi-parameter flow cytometry. Cell function was assessed by viral suppression and cytokine production using autologous lymphocytes infected with HIV. Activating (NKp30, NKp46) and inhibitory (Siglec-7) markers in healthy infants and adults were compared with viremic HIV-infected adults.<h4>Results</h4>Cord blood contained increased frequencies of CD56 negative (CD56neg) NK cells with reduced expression of granzyme B and reduced production of IFN? and the CC-class chemokines RANTES, MIP1? and MIP1? upon stimulation. Both CD56pos and CD56neg NK subpopulations showed impaired viral suppression in cord blood, with impairment most marked in the CD56neg subset. CD56neg NK cells from cord blood and HIV-infected adults shared decreased inhibitory and activating receptor expression when compared with CD56pos cells.<h4>Conclusions</h4>CD56neg NK cells are increased in number in normal infants and these effectors show reduced anti-viral activity. Like the expanded CD56neg population described in HIV-infected adults, these NK cells demonstrate functional impairments which may reflect inadequate development or activation.
Project description:Natural killer cells lacking expression of CD56 (CD56neg NK cells) have been described in chronic HIV and hepatitis C virus infection. Features and functions of CD56neg NK cells in the context of latent infection with CMV and / or EBV with age are not known. In a cohort of healthy donors >60 years of age, we found that co-infection with CMV and EBV drives expansion of CD56neg NK cells. Functionally, CD56neg NK cells displayed reduced cytotoxic capacity and IFN-? production, a feature that was enhanced with CMV / EBV co-infection. Further, the frequency of CD56neg NK cells correlated with accumulation of end-stage-differentiated T cells and a reduced CD4 / CD8 T cell ratio, reflecting an immune risk profile. CD56neg NK cells had a mature phenotype characterized by low CD57 and KIR expression and lacked characteristics of cell senescence. No changes in their activating NK cell receptor expression, and no upregulation of the negative co-stimulation receptors PD-1 or TIM-3 were observed. In all, our data identify expansion of dysfunctional CD56neg NK cells in CMV+EBV+ elderly individuals suggesting that these cells may function as shape-shifters of cellular immunity and argue for a previously unrecognized role of EBV in mediating immune risk in the elderly.
Project description:NK cells are innate immune cells known for their cytolytic activities toward tumors and infections. They are capable of expressing diverse killer Ig-like receptors (KIRs), and KIRs are implicated in susceptibility to Crohn's disease (CD), a chronic intestinal inflammatory disease. However, the cellular mechanism of this genetic contribution is unknown. In this study, we show that the "licensing" of NK cells, determined by the presence of KIR2DL3 and homozygous HLA-C1 in host genome, results in their cytokine reprogramming, which permits them to promote CD4(+) T cell activation and Th17 differentiation ex vivo. Microfluidic analysis of thousands of NK single cells and bulk secretions established that licensed NK cells are more polarized to proinflammatory cytokine production than unlicensed NK cells, including production of IFN-?, TNF-?, CCL-5, and MIP-1?. Cytokines produced by licensed NK augmented CD4(+) T cell proliferation and IL-17A/IL-22 production. Ab blocking indicated a primary role for IFN-?, TNF-?, and IL-6 in the augmented T cell-proliferative response. In conclusion, NK licensing mediated by KIR2DL2/3 and HLA-C1 elicits a novel NK cytokine program that activates and induces proinflammatory CD4(+) T cells, thereby providing a potential biologic mechanism for KIR-associated susceptibility to CD and other chronic inflammatory diseases.
Project description:Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor/HLA class I (KIR/HLA-I) combinations are associated with disease risk, implicating functional roles for NK cells (NKCs) or KIR(+) T cells. KIR/HLA-I interactions can act through inhibition of NKC activation by target cells and NKC licensing for greater intrinsic responsiveness. We compared licensing conferred by the weaker, HLA-C group 1/KIR2DL3, and the stronger, HLA-C group 2/KIR2DL1, inhibitory combinations. The "rheostat model" predicts weaker licensing by HLA-C1/KIR2DL3 interactions than HLA-C2/KIR2DL1. We analyzed degranulation in NKC subsets expressing single and multiple receptors for HLA-I. NKG2A had the strongest licensing impact, while KIR2DL3, KIR2DL1, and KIR3DL1 were weaker, and not significantly different to each other. Presence of one or two matched HLA-C allotypes did not alter licensing of KIR2DL3(+) and KIR2DL1(+) NKC. Coexpression of activating KIR2DS1 disarmed KIR2DL3(+) and KIR2DL1(+) NKC to a similar extent. KIR3DL1 and NKG2A combined for more enhanced licensing of double-positive NKC than the combination of KIR2DL3 and KIR2DL1. Thus, KIR2DL3 and KIR2DL1 have similar capacity to license NKC, suggesting that inhibitory signal strength and amount of available HLA-C ligands do not correlate with NKC licensing. Altogether, our results show that the basis for disease associations of HLA-C and KIR2DL likely encompasses factors other than licensing.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cell-based immunotherapy is a promising therapy for cancer patients. Inhibitory killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and NKG2A are required for NK cell licensing, but can also inhibit NK cell effector function. Upon reconstitution in a stem cell transplantation setting or after ex vivo NK expansion with IL-2, NKG2A is expressed on a large percentage of NK cells. Since the functional consequences of NKG2A co-expression for activated NK cells are not well known, we compared NKG2A+ vs NKG2A- NK cell subsets in response to K562 cells, multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines and primary MM cells. NK cells were isolated from healthy donors (HLA-C1+C2+Bw4+) and activated overnight with 1,000?U/ml IL-2. NK cell degranulation in subsets expressing KIRs and/or NKG2A was assessed at 21 or 0.6% O2. Activated NKG2A+ NK cell subsets degranulated more vigorously than NKG2A- subsets both at 21 and 0.6% O2. This was irrespective of the presence of KIR and occurred in response to HLA-deficient K562 cells as well as HLA competent, lowly expressing HLA-E MM cell lines. In response to primary MM cells, no inhibitory effects of NKG2A were observed, and NKG2A blockade did not enhance degranulation of NKG2A+ subsets. KIR- NK cells expressing NKG2A degranulated less than their NKG2A- counterparts in response to MM cells having high levels of peptide-induced membrane HLA-E, suggesting that high surface HLA-E levels are required for NKG2A to inhibit activated NK cells. Addition of daratumumab, an anti-CD38 to trigger antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, improved the anti-MM response for all subsets and degranulation of the KIR-NKG2A- "unlicensed" subset was comparable to KIR+ or NKG2A+ licensed subsets. This demonstrates that with potent activation, all subsets can contribute to tumor clearance. Additionally, subsets expressing KIRs mismatched with the HLA ligands on the target cell had the highest level of activation in response to MM cell lines as well as against primary MM. Our current study demonstrated that if NK cells are sufficiently activated, e.g., via cytokine or antibody activation, the (co-)expression of NKG2A receptor may not necessarily be a disadvantage for NK cell-based therapy.
Project description:Human natural killer (NK) cell activity is regulated by a family of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) that bind human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I. Combinations of KIR and HLA genotypes are associated with disease, including susceptibility to viral infection and disorders of pregnancy. KIR2DL1 binds HLA-C alleles of group C2 (Lys80). KIR2DL2 and KIR2DL3 bind HLA-C alleles of group C1 (Asn80). However, this model cannot explain HLA-C allelic effects in disease or the impact of HLA-bound peptides. The goal of this study was to determine the extent to which the endogenous HLA-C peptide repertoire can influence the specific binding of inhibitory KIR to HLA-C allotypes.The impact of HLA-C bound peptide on inhibitory KIR binding was investigated taking advantage of the fact that HLA-C*05:01 (HLA-C group 2, C2) and HLA-C*08:02 (HLA-C group 1, C1) have identical sequences apart from the key KIR specificity determining epitope at residues 77 and 80. Endogenous peptides were eluted from HLA-C*05:01 and used to test the peptide dependence of KIR2DL1 and KIR2DL2/3 binding to HLA-C*05:01 and HLA-C*08:02 and subsequent impact on NK cell function. Specific binding of KIR2DL1 to the C2 allotype occurred with the majority of peptides tested. In contrast, KIR2DL2/3 binding to the C1 allotype occurred with only a subset of peptides. Cross-reactive binding of KIR2DL2/3 with the C2 allotype was restricted to even fewer peptides. Unexpectedly, two peptides promoted binding of the C2 allotype-specific KIR2DL1 to the C1 allotype. We showed that presentation of endogenous peptides or HIV Gag peptides by HLA-C can promote KIR cross-reactive binding.KIR2DL2/3 binding to C1 is more peptide selective than that of KIR2DL1 binding to C2, providing an explanation for KIR2DL3-C1 interactions appearing weaker than KIR2DL1-C2. In addition, cross-reactive binding of KIR is characterized by even higher peptide selectivity. We demonstrate a hierarchy of functional peptide selectivity of KIR-HLA-C interactions with relevance to NK cell biology and human disease associations. This selective peptide sequence-driven binding of KIR provides a potential mechanism for pathogen as well as self-peptide to modulate NK cell activation through altering levels of inhibition.
Project description:BACKGROUND:HLA class I contributes to HIV immune control through antigen presentation to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and natural killer (NK) cells. In contrast to investigations of CTL, studies of NK cells in HIV control through HLA-killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) interactions remain sparse in African cohorts. METHODS:Treatment-naive, chronically HIV-infected adults (N = 312) were recruited from South Africa, and the effects of HLA-KIR pairs on clinical outcome were analyzed. RESULTS:There was no significant difference in viral load among all subjects with HLA alleles from the HLA-C1 group (P = .1). However, differences in HLA-C type significantly influenced viremia among 247 KIR2DL3 positives (P = .04), suggesting that specific HLA-KIR interactions contribute to immune control. Higher viral load (P = .02) and lower CD4+ T-cell counts (P = .008) were observed in subjects with HLA-C*16:01+KIR2DL3+. Longitudinal analysis showed more rapid progression to AIDS among HLA-C*16:01+KIR2DL3+ subjects (adjusted hazard ratio 1.9, P = .03) than those without this genotype, independent of CD4+ T-cell count and viral load. CONCLUSIONS:These results highlight the existence of unique anti-HIV innate immunity within distinct populations and the contribution of KIR on NK cells and some CTLs to the well-described HLA-mediated impact on HIV disease progression.