Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2015

DOI

10.1111/cei.12722

Abstract

Killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) interact with HLA class I ligands and play a key role in the regulation and activation of NK cells. The functional importance of KIR-HLA interactions has been demonstrated for a number of chronic viral infections, but to date only a few studies have been performed in the context of acute self-limited viral infections. During our investigation of CD8+ T cell responses to a conserved HLA-B57-restricted epitope derived from dengue virus (DENV) non-structural protein-1 (NS1), we observed substantial binding of the tetrameric complex to non-T/non-B lymphocytes in PBMC from a long-standing clinical cohort in Thailand. We confirmed binding of the NS1 tetramer to CD56dim NK cells, which are known to express KIRs. Using depletion studies and KIR-transfected cell lines, we further demonstrated that the NS1 tetramer bound the inhibitory receptor KIR3DL1. Phenotypic analysis of PBMC from HLA-B57+ subjects with acute DENV infection revealed marked activation of NS1 tetramer-binding NK cells around the time of defervescence in subjects with severe dengue disease. Collectively, our findings indicate that subsets of NK cells are activated relatively late in the course of acute DENV illness and reveal a possible role for specific KIR-HLA interactions in the modulation of disease outcomes.

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