NK cell education is the process through which chronic engagement of inhibitory NK cell receptors by self MHC-I molecules preserves cellular responsiveness. The molecular mechanisms responsible for NK cell education remain unclear. Here, we show that mouse NK cell education is associated with a higher basal activity of the mTOR/Akt pathway, commensurate to the number of educating receptors. This higher activity was dependent on the SHP-1 phosphatase and essential for the improved responsiveness of reactive NK cells. Upon stimulation, the mTOR/Akt pathway amplified signaling through activating NK cell receptors by enhancing calcium flux and LFA-1 integrin activation. Pharmacological inhibition of mTOR resulted in a proportional decrease in NK cell reactivity. Reciprocally, acute cytokine stimulation restored reactivity of hyporesponsive NK cells through mTOR activation. These results demonstrate that mTOR acts as a molecular rheostat of NK cell reactivity controlled by educating receptors and uncover how cytokine stimulation overcomes NK cell education.
- Antoine Marçais
- Thierry Walzer
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was carried out in accordance with the French recommendations in the Guide for the ethical evaluation of experiments using laboratory animals and the European guidelines 86/609/CEE. All experimental studies were approved by the bioethic local committee CECCAPP (Permit number: CECCAPP_ENS_2014_018).
- Wayne M Yokoyama, Reviewing Editor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Washington University School of Medicine, United States
- Received: February 28, 2017
- Accepted: August 29, 2017
- Accepted Manuscript published: September 6, 2017 (version 1)
© 2017, Marçais et al.
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