Author(s): RouasFreiss N, Marchal RE, Kirszenbaum M, Dausset J, Carosella ED
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Abstract We have investigated the protective role of the membrane-bound HLA-G1 and HLA-G2 isoforms against natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity. For this purpose, HLA-G1 and HLA-G2 cDNAs were transfected into the HLA class I-negative human K562 cell line, a known reference target for NK lysis. The HLA-G1 protein, encoded by a full-length mRNA, presents a structure similar to that of classical HLA class I antigens. The HLA-G2 protein, deduced from an alternatively spliced transcript, consists of the alpha1 domain linked to the alpha3 domain. In this study we demonstrate that (i) HLA-G2 is present at the cell surface as a truncated class I molecule associated with beta2-microglobulin; (ii) NK cytolysis, observed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and in polyclonal CD3(-) CD16(+) CD56(+) NK cells obtained from 20 donors, is inhibited by both HLA-G1 and HLA-G2; this HLA-G-mediated inhibition is reversed by blocking HLA-G with a specific mAb; this led us to the conjecture that HLA-G is the public ligand for NK inhibitory receptors (NKIR) present in all individuals; (iii) the alpha1 domain common to HLA-G1 and HLA-G2 could mediate this protection from NK lysis; and (iv) when transfected into the K562 cell line, both HLA-G1 and HLA-G2 abolish lysis by the T cell leukemia NK-like YT2C2 clone due to interaction between the HLA-G isoform on the target cell surface and a membrane receptor on YT2C2. Because NKIR1 and NKIR2, known to interact with HLA-G, were undetectable on YT2C2, we conclude that a yet-unknown specific receptor for HLA-G1 and HLA-G2 is present on these cells.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology