Natural killer (NK) cells help protect the host against viral infections and tumors. NKG2D is a vital activating receptor, also expressed on subsets of T cells, whose ligands are up-regulated by cells in stress. Ligation of NKG2D leads to phosphorylation of the associated DAP10 adaptor protein, thereby activating immune cells. Understanding how the expression of NKG2D-DAP10 is regulated has implications for immunotherapy. We show that IL-2 and TGF-β1 oppositely regulate NKG2D-DAP10 expression by NK cells. IL-2 stimulation increases NKG2D surface expression despite a decrease in NKG2D mRNA levels. Stimulation with IL-2 results in a small increase of DAP10 mRNAand a large up-regulation of DAP10 protein synthesis, indicating that IL-2-mediated effects are mostly posttranscriptional. Newly synthesized DAP10 undergoes glycosylation that is required for DAP10 association with NKG2D and stabilization of NKG2D expression. TGF-β1 has an opposite and dominant effect to IL-2. TGF-β1 treatment decreases DAP10, as its presence inhibits the association of RNA polymerase II with the DAP10 promoter, but not NKG2D mRNA levels. This leads to the down-regulation of DAP10 expression and, as a consequence, NKG2D protein as well. Finally, we show that other γc cytokines act similarly to IL-2 in up-regulating DAP10 expression and NKG2D-DAP10 surface expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology