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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Characterization of inhibitory and stimulatory forms of the murine natural killer cell receptor 2B4.

The receptor 2B4 belongs to the Ig superfamily and is found on the surface of all murine natural killer (NK) cells as well as T cells displaying non-MHC-restricted cytotoxicity. Previous studies have suggested that 2B4 is an activating molecule because cross-linking of this receptor results in increased cytotoxicity and gamma-interferon secretion as well as granule exocytosis. However, it was recently shown that the gene for 2B4 encodes two different products that arise by alternative splicing. These gene products differ solely in their cytoplasmic domains. One form has a cytoplasmic tail of 150 amino acids (2B4L) and the other has a tail of 93 amino acids (2B4S). To determine the function of each receptor, cDNAs for 2B4S and 2B4L were transfected into the rat NK cell line RNK-16. Interestingly, the two forms of 2B4 had opposing functions. 2B4S was able to mediate redirected lysis of P815 tumor targets, suggesting that this form represents an activating receptor. However, 2B4L expression led to an inhibition of redirected lysis of P815 targets when the mAb 3.2.3 (specific for rat NKRP1) was used. In addition, 2B4L constitutively inhibits lysis of YAC-1 tumor targets. 2B4L is a tyrosine phosphoprotein, and removal of domains containing these residues abrogates its inhibitory function. Like other inhibitory receptors, 2B4L associates with the tyrosine phosphatase SHP-2. Thus, 2B4L is an inhibitory receptor belonging to the Ig superfamily.[1]


  1. Characterization of inhibitory and stimulatory forms of the murine natural killer cell receptor 2B4. Schatzle, J.D., Sheu, S., Stepp, S.E., Mathew, P.A., Bennett, M., Kumar, V. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1999) [Pubmed]
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