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, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Washington University School of Medicine, United States
© 2017, Marçais et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The oxidative state of a critical cysteine residue determines the enzymatic activity of a phosphatase involved in T-cell immune responses.
Dimorphic amino acids at positions 77 and 80 delineate HLA-C allotypes into two groups, C1 and C2, which associate with disease through interactions with C1 and C2-specific natural killer cell receptors. How the C1/C2 dimorphism affects T cell recognition is unknown. Using HLA-C allotypes that differ only by the C1/C2-defining residues, we found that KRAS-G12D neoantigen-specific T cell receptors (TCR) discriminated between C1 and C2 presenting the same KRAS-G12D peptides. Structural and functional experiments, and immunopeptidomics analysis revealed that Ser77 in C1 and Asn77 in C2 influence amino acid preference near the peptide C-terminus (pW), including the pW-1 position, in which C1 favors small and C2 prefers large residues. This resulted in weaker TCR affinity for KRAS-G12D-bound C2-HLA-C despite conserved TCR contacts. Thus, the C1/C2 dimorphism on its own impacts peptide presentation and HLA-C restricted T cell responses, with implications in disease, including adoptive T cell therapy targeting KRAS-G12D-induced cancers.