The tumor suppressor in lung cancer-1 (TSLC1) gene is frequently silenced in human lung carcinomas, and its expression suppresses tumorigenesis in nude mice. TSLC1 encodes a cell-surface protein called Necl-2 that belongs to the Nectin and Nectin-like (Necl) family of molecules. Necl-2 mediates epithelial cell junctions by homotypic contacts and/or heterotypic interactions with other Nectins and Necls. Thus, it inhibits tumorigenesis by ensuring that epithelial cells grow in organized layers. Here, we demonstrate that natural killer (NK) cells and CD8+ T cells recognize Necl-2 through a receptor known as class I-restricted T-cell-associated molecule (CRTAM), which is expressed only on activated cells. CRTAM-Necl-2 interactions promote cytotoxicity of NK cells and interferon γ (IFN-γ) secretion of CD8+ T cells in vitro as well as NK cell-mediated rejection of tumors expressing Necl-2 in vivo. These results provide evidence for an additional mechanism of tumor suppression mediated by TSLC1 that involves cytotoxic lymphocytes. Furthermore, they reveal Necl-2 as one of the molecular targets that allows the immunosurveillance network to distinguish tumor cells from normal cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-786
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005


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