Identification of a clonally restricted 90 kD heterodimer on two human cloned natural killer cell lines. Its role in cytotoxic effector function.
Hercend T., Meuer S., Brennan A., Edson MA., Acuto O., Reinherz EL., Schlossman SF., Ritz J.
The present studies were carried out to identify surface molecules involved in the cytotoxic effector function of a human natural killer (NK) clone termed JT9. This clone represents a mature T lymphocyte (T3+T8+T11+) mediating NK-like activity. Using JT9 for immunization, one monoclonal antibody termed anti-NKTa was selected that blocked the cytotoxicity of the clone towards K562 cells. Reactivity of anti-NKTa antibody was assessed using a large panel of lymphoid and nonlymphoid cells including a variety of cloned cell lines with either cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) or NK-like activity. Among all cells tested, only two individual clones, JT9 and JT10, were found to express NKTa antigen. JT10 was derived independently from the same individual as JT9 and also represents a mature T cell (T3+T8+T11+) mediating NK-like activity. Like the Ti structure on CTL clones, the molecule defined by anti-NKTa was shown to be membrane associated with T3 in co-modulation experiments. Moreover, anti-NKTa precipitated a 90 kD heterodimeric structure in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of 125I surface-labeled JT9 cells. The blocking capacity of anti-NKTa was evaluated in cytotoxicity assays using a panel of target cells. The influence of anti-T3 was tested in parallel and it was found that both anti-NKTa and anti-T3 blocked the cytotoxicity of the cloned cells against all targets. Given the potential role of 90 kD molecules as antigen-receptor structures, the specificity of the two NKTa+ NK clones was compared and found superimposable when assessed using 15 in vitro established cell lines. However, in contrast to conventional CTL clones, the expression of cytotoxicity by JT9 and JT10 was not dependent upon recognition of class I or class II major histocompatibility complex gene products on the target cells. In addition, the cytotoxicity of these T8+ NK active clones could not be blocked by anti-T8 antibodies. Taken together, the present data suggest that the specificity of one population of human NK active lymphocytes is determined by clonotypic structures. The NKTa determinant identified here appears to belong to the same family of molecules as Ti structures, previously identified on antigen-specific T lymphocytes.