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Human natural killer cells mediate adaptive immunity to viral antigens

Nikzad, R; Angelo, LS; Aviles-Padilla, K; Le, DT; Singh, VK; Bimler, L; Vukmanovic-Stejic, M; ... Paust, S; + view all (2019) Human natural killer cells mediate adaptive immunity to viral antigens. Science Immunology , 4 (35) , Article eaat8116. 10.1126/sciimmunol.aat8116. Green open access

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Abstract

Adaptive immune responses are defined as antigen sensitization–dependent and antigen-specific responses leading to establishment of long-lived immunological memory. Although natural killer (NK) cells have traditionally been considered cells of the innate immune system, mounting evidence in mice and nonhuman primates warrants reconsideration of the existing paradigm that B and T cells are the sole mediators of adaptive immunity. However, it is currently unknown whether human NK cells can exhibit adaptive immune responses. We therefore tested whether human NK cells mediate adaptive immunity to virally encoded antigens using humanized mice and human volunteers. We found that human NK cells displayed vaccination-dependent, antigen-specific recall responses in vitro, when isolated from livers of humanized mice previously vaccinated with HIV-encoded envelope protein. Furthermore, we discovered that large numbers of cytotoxic NK cells with a tissue-resident phenotype were recruited to sites of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) skin test antigen challenge in VZV-experienced human volunteers. These NK-mediated recall responses in humans occurred decades after initial VZV exposure, demonstrating that NK memory in humans is long-lived. Our data demonstrate that human NK cells exhibit adaptive immune responses upon vaccination or infection. The existence of human memory NK cells may allow for the development of vaccination-based approaches capable of establishing potent NK-mediated memory functions contributing to host protection.

Type: Article
Title: Human natural killer cells mediate adaptive immunity to viral antigens
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aat8116
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciimmunol.aat8116
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Experimental and Translational Medicine
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10087934
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