Molecular Regulation of Interferon Gamma in 2B4-Activated Natural Killer Cells: Functional Role in Tumor Rejection




Johnson, Lori Ann


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Natural killer cells are a third population of lymphocytes, distinct from T and B cells. NK cells are non-MHC-restricted cytotoxic effector cells which are effective against intracellular pathogens, virally-infected cells and tumor cells. 2B4 is a natural killer cell receptor originally identified in the mouse as a surface molecule involved in non-MHC-restricted killing and enhancement of IFN-γ secretion. The human and rat homologues of 2B4 have recently been cloned in our laboratory. Interferon gamma (IFN-γ) is a cytokine with potent anti-viral and anti-proliferative effects. In addition, this cytokine acts as a global immune regulator by regulating gene expression and serving to attract other immune cells. In this work, we establish the function of human 2B4 in a NK cell line, YT. We have shown that human 2B4 activation induces cytolytic function and enhances IFN-γ release in YT cells. Additionally we show that 2B4’s regulation of IFN-γ occurs at the transcriptional level, both through mRNA stability and increased promoter activity. We also demonstrate that several regions in the IFN-γ promoter respond to 2B4 activation and IFN-γ both separately and together in the rejection of metastatictumor cells in C57B7/6 mice. Our results confirm that both 2B4 and IFN-γ are critical in the rejection of metastatic tumor cells. Through the use of activating monoclonal antibodies, our studies indicate that 2B4’s anti-tumor activity is through IFN-γ as well as through cytolytic function of NK cells.