CD94/NKG2 expression does not inhibit cytotoxic function of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-specific CD8+ T cells

J Immunol. 2002 Jul 15;169(2):693-701. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.169.2.693.


Murine Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells express various NK markers and NK inhibitory receptors that have been proposed to modulate immune responses. Following acute infection of C57BL/6 and BALB/cJ mice with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), we observed that Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells expressed CD94/NKG2. Only slight expression of Ly49A and Ly49C receptors was observed on NP396-specific T cells, while all NP396-specific T cells expressed the NKT cell marker U5A2-13 Ag. Expression of CD94/NKG2 was maintained for at least 1 year following LCMV infection, as was the NKT cell marker. By means of cell sorting and quantitative PCR, we found that NP118-specific CD8(+) T cells primarily express transcripts for inhibitory NKG2 receptor isoforms. CD94/NKG2 expression was also observed on Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells following infection with polyoma virus, influenza virus, and Listeria monocytogenes, suggesting that it may be a common characteristic of Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells following infection with viral or bacterial pathogens. Expression of CD94/NKG2 on memory-specific CD8(+) T cells did not change following secondary challenge with LCMV clone 13 and did not inhibit viral clearance. Furthermore, we found no evidence that CD94/NKG2 inhibits either the lytic function of LCMV-specific T cells or their capacity to produce effector cytokines upon peptide stimulation. Finally, down-regulation of CD94/NKG2 was found to occur only during chronic LCMV infection. Altogether, this study suggests that CD94/NKG2 expression is not necessarily correlated with inhibition of T cell function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, CD / biosynthesis*
  • Antigens, CD / physiology
  • Antigens, Ly*
  • Cell Line
  • Clone Cells
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic*
  • Down-Regulation / immunology*
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / metabolism
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Lectins, C-Type*
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus / immunology*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily A
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily D
  • Protein Isoforms / biosynthesis
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms / physiology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Immunologic / physiology
  • Receptors, NK Cell Lectin-Like
  • Receptors, Natural Killer Cell
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / virology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Ly
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Klra1 protein, mouse
  • Klra3 protein, mouse
  • Klrd1 protein, mouse
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily A
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily D
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Q surface antigens
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, NK Cell Lectin-Like
  • Receptors, Natural Killer Cell