Novel APC-like properties of human NK cells directly regulate T cell activation

Jacob Hanna, Tsufit Gonen-Gross, Jonathan Fitchett, Tony Rowe, Mark Daniels, Tal I. Arnon, Roi Gazit, Aviva Joseph, Karoline W. Schjetne, Alexander Steinle, Angel Porgador, Dror Mevorach, Debra Goldman-Wohl, Simcha Yagel, Michael J. LaBarre, Jane H. Buckner, Ofer Mandelboim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Initiation of the adaptive immune response is dependent on the priming of naive T cells by APCs. Proteomic analysis of unactivated and activated human NK cell membrane-enriched fractions demonstrated that activated NK cells can efficiently stimulate T cells, since they upregulate MHC class II molecules and multiple ligands for TCR costimulatory molecules. Furthermore, by manipulating antigen administration, we show that NK cells possess multiple independent unique pathways for antigen uptake. These results highlight NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity and specific ligand recognition by cell sur face-activating receptors on NK cells as unique mechanisms for antigen capturing and presentation. In addition, we analyzed the T cell-activating potential of human NK cells derived from different clinical conditions, such as inflamed tonsils and noninfected and CMV-infected uterine decidual samples, and from transporter-associated processing antigen 2-deficient patients. This in vivo analysis revealed that proinflammatory, but not immune-suppressive, microenvironmental requirements can selectively dictate upregulation of T cell-activating molecules on NK cells. Taken together, these observations offer new and unexpected insights into the direct interactions between NK and T cells and suggest novel APC-like activating functions for human NK cells.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1612-1623
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 2004


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