Publications & Reports

Rapid degranulation of NK cells following activation by HIV-specific antibodies.

Chung AW, Rollman E, Center RJ, Kent SJ, Stratov I
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.


Ab-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) Abs stimulate NK cell effector functions and play a role in protecting from and controlling viral infections. We characterized ADCC Abs in a cross-sectional cohort of 80 HIV-infected subjects not on antiretroviral therapy. We analyzed ADCC response by killing fluorescently labeled target cells, as well as expression of IFN-gamma and the degranulation marker CD107a from activated NK cells as measured by a novel intracellular cytokine assay. HIV-specific ADCC directed toward Envelope proteins were present in the majority of 80 untreated HIV-infected individuals measured by killing function. Similarly, most subjects had HIV-specific Abs that mediated degranulation or cytokine expression by NK cells. Interestingly, there was a poor correlation between ADCC-mediated killing of fluorescently labeled whole Envelope protein-pulsed cell lines and Ab-mediated expression of IFN-gamma by NK cells. However, in contrast to healthy donor NK cells, autologous patient NK cells more effectively degranulated granzyme B in response to ADCC activation. Activation of NK cells in response to stimulation by HIV-specific Abs occurs at least as rapidly as activation of Gag-specific CTLs. Our studies highlight the complexity of ab-mediated NK cell activation in HIV infection, and suggest new avenues toward studying the utility of ADCC in controlling HIV infection.


  • Journal: Journal of Immunology
  • Published: 15/01/2009
  • Volume: 182
  • Issue: 2
  • Pagination: 1202-1210


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