31 Scopus citations


We have used a recombinant, biotinylated form of the mouse NK cell inhibitory receptor, Ly49A, to visualize the expression of MHC class I (MHC-I) ligands on living lymphoid cells. A panel of murine strains, including MHC congenic lines, was examined. We detected binding of Ly49A to cells expressing H-2D(d), H-2D(k), and H-2D(p) but not to those expressing other MHC molecules. Cells of the MHC-recombinant strain B10.PL (H-2(u)) not only bound Ly49A but also inhibited cytolysis by Ly49A+ effector cells, consistent with the correlation of in vitro binding and NK cell function. Binding of Ly49A to H-2D(d)-bearing cells of different lymphoid tissues was proportional to the level of H-2D(d) expression and was not related to the lineage of the cells examined. These binding results, interpreted in the context of amino acid sequence comparisons and the recently determined three-dimensional structure of the Ly49A/H-2D(d) complex, suggest a role for amino acid residues at the amino-terminal end of the α1 helix of the MHC-I molecule for Ly49A interaction. This view is supported by a marked decrease in affinity of an H-2D(d) mutant, I52 M, for Ly49A. Thus, allelic variation of MHC-I molecules controls measurable affinity for the NK inhibitory receptor Ly49A and explains differences in functional recognition in different mouse strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6922-6932
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2000


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