alexa Coordinated Expression of Ig-Like Inhibitory MHC Class I Receptors and Acquisition of Cytotoxic Function in Human CD8+ T Cells1
Immunology

Immunology

Immunogenetics: Open Access

Author(s): Nicolas Anfossi, JeanMarc Doisne, MarieAlix Peyrat, Sophie Ugolini, Olivia Bonnaud

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MHC class I-specific inhibitory receptors are expressed by a subset of memory-phenotype CD8+ T cells. Similar to NK cells, MHC class I-specific inhibitory receptors might subserve on T cells an important negative control that participates to the prevention of autologous damage. We analyzed here human CD8+ T cells that express the Ig-like MHC class I-specific inhibitory receptors: killer cell Ig-like receptor (KIR) and CD85j. The cell surface expression of Ig-like inhibitory MHC class I receptors was found to correlate with an advanced stage of CD8+ T cell maturation as evidenced by the reduced proliferative potential of KIR+ and CD85j+ T cells associated with their high intracytoplasmic perforin content. This concomitant regulation might represent a safety mechanism to control potentially harmful cytolytic CD8+ T cells, by raising their activation threshold. Yet, KIR+ and CD85j+ T cells present distinct features. KIR+CD8+ T cells are poor IFN-γ producers upon TCR engagement. In addition, KIR are barely detectable at the surface of virus-specific T cells during the course of CMV or HIV-1 infection. By contrast, CD85j+CD8+ T cells produce IFN-γ upon TCR triggering, and represent a large fraction of virus-specific T cells. Thus, the cell surface expression of Ig-like inhibitory MHC class I receptors is associated with T cell engagement into various stages of the cytolytic differentiation pathway, and the cell surface expression of CD85j or KIR witnesses to the history of qualitatively and/or quantitatively distinct T cell activation events.

This article was published in The Journal of Immunology and referenced in Immunogenetics: Open Access

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