Natural killer (NK) cells express inhibitory receptors with varied binding affinities to specific major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) haplotypes. NK cells can be classified as licensed or unlicensed based on their ability or inability to bind MHC-I, respectively. The role of donor vs host MHC on their development after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is not known. Following reciprocal MHC-disparate allogeneic transplants and during de novo NK-cell recovery, depletion of the licensed and not unlicensed population of NK cells as determined by the licensing patterns of donor MHC-I haplotypes, resulted in significantly increased susceptibility to murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection. A corresponding expansion of the licensed Ly49H(+) NK cells occurred with greater interferon γ production by these cells than unlicensed NK cells in the context of donor MHC-I. Thus, NK licensing behavior to MCMV corresponds to the donor, and not recipient, MHC haplotype after allo-HSCT in mice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology