Author(s): Dhanji S, Teh HS
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Abstract CD8(+) T cells depend on the alphabeta TCR for Ag recognition and function. However, Ag-activated CD8(+) T cells can also express receptors of the innate immune system. In this study, we examined the expression of NK receptors on a population of CD8(+) T cells expressing high levels of CD44 (CD8(+)CD44(high) cells) from normal mice. These cells are distinct from conventional memory CD8(+) T cells and they proliferate and become activated in response to IL 2 via a CD48/CD2-dependent mechanism. Before activation, they express low or undetectable levels of NK receptors but upon activation with IL-2 they expressed significant levels of activating NK receptors including 2B4 and NKG2D. Interestingly, the IL-2-activated cells demonstrate a preference in the killing of syngeneic tumor cells. This killing of syngeneic tumor cells was greatly enhanced by the expression of the NKG2D ligand Rae-1 on the target cell. In contrast to conventional CD8(+) T cells, IL-2-activated CD8(+)CD44(high) cells express DAP12, an adaptor molecule that is normally expressed in activated NK cells. These observations indicate that activated CD8(+)CD44(high) cells express receptors of both the adaptive and innate immune system and may play a unique role in the surveillance of host cells that have been altered by infection or transformation.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Immunome Research