Nonstochastic coexpression of activation receptors on murine natural killer cells

Hamish R.C. Smith, Hubert H. Chuang, Lawrence L. Wang, Margarita Salcedo, Jonathan W. Heusel, Wayne M. Yokoyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Murine natural killer cells (NK) express lectin-like activation and inhibitory receptors, including the CD94/NKG2 family of receptors that bind Qa-1, and the Ly-49 family that recognizes major histocompatibility complex class I molecules. Here, we demonstrate that crosslinking of NK cells with a new specific anti-Ly-49H mAb induced NK cell cytotoxicity and cytokine production. Ly-49H is expressed on a subset of NK cells and can be coexpressed with Ly-49 inhibitory receptors. However, unlike Ly-49 inhibitory receptors, Ly-49H is not detectable on naive splenic CD3+ T cells, indicating that Ly-49H may be an NK cell-specific activation receptor. In further contrast to the stochastically expressed Ly-49 inhibitory receptors, Ly-49H is preferentially expressed with the Ly-49D activation receptor, and expression of both Ly-49H and Ly-49D is augmented on NK cells that lack receptors for Qa-1 tetramers. On developing splenic NK1.1+ cells, Ly-49D and Ly-49H are expressed later than the inhibitory receptors. These results directly demonstrate that Ly-49H activates primary NK cells, and suggest that expression of Ly-49 activation receptors by NK cells may be specifically regulated on NK cell subsets. The simultaneous expression of multiple activation receptors by individual NK cells contrasts with that oft cell antigen receptors and is relevant to the role of NK cells in innate immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1341-1354
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 17 2000


  • 3D10
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Ly-49D
  • Ly-49H
  • Subset


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