Negative regulation of rat natural killer cell activity by major histocompatibility complex class I recognition

Elmar Kraus, Doris Lambracht, Kurt Wonigeit, Thomas Hünig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The cytolytic activity of human and mouse natural killer (NK) cells is negatively regulated by self major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules on potential target cells. In the rat, protection by RT1 class I gene products has so far not been formally shown although the complex effects of foreign and self RT1 genes on polyclonal NK cell activity suggest that MHC recognition can have both stimulatory and inhibitory effects. Here we report that the expression of self-MHC class I molecules on target cells strongly inhibits lysis by a long term NK cell line derived from LEW (RT1(l)) rats and by LEW NK cells activated by short-term culture in the presence of interleukin-2. This was demonstrated with mouse-rat hybridoma target cells expressing different rat MHC alleles and with mouse tumor target cells transfected with classical (RT1.A(l)) and nonclassical (RT1.C(l)) rat MHC class I genes. With hybridoma target cells, the strongest reduction in lysis as compared to the parental mouse myeloma line was observed when 'self' (LEW) MHC was expressed, while hybridomas expressing other MHC alleles showed less and variable reduction. Transfection of RT1.A(l) protected both L-929 fibroblasts and P815 mastocytoma cells from lysis by the NK cell line, while RT1. C(l) only protected P815 cells, indicating that additional target cell properties regulate rat NK cell activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2582-2586
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 12 1996


  • Major histocompatibility complex
  • Natural killer cell
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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