Altered IFNgamma signaling and preserved susceptibility to activated natural killer cell-mediated lysis of BCR/ABL targets

Cancer Res. 2005 Apr 1;65(7):2914-20. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-04-1932.


Previous studies have shown that BCR/ABL oncogene, the molecular counterpart of the Ph1 chromosome, could represent a privileged target to natural killer (NK) cells. In the present study, we showed that activated peripheral NK cells killed high-level BCR/ABL transfectant UT-7/9 derived from the pluripotent hematopoietic cell line UT-7 with a high efficiency. To further define the mechanisms controlling BCR/ABL target susceptibility to NK-mediated lysis, we studied the effect of IFNgamma, a key cytokine secreted by activated NK cells, on the lysis of these targets. Treatment of UT-7, UT-7/neo, and low BCR/ABL transfectant UT-7/E8 cells with IFNgamma resulted in a dramatic induction of human leukocyte antigen class I (HLA-I) molecules and subsequently in their reduced susceptibility to NK-mediated cytolysis likely as a consequence of inhibitory NK receptors engagement. In contrast, such treatment neither affected HLA-I expression on transfectants expressing high level of BCR/ABL (UT-7/9) nor modulated their lysis by NK cells. Our data further show that the high-level BCR/ABL in UT-7/9 cells display an altered IFNgamma signaling, as evidenced by a decrease in IFN regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) and signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) 1 induction and activation in response to IFNgamma, whereas this pathway is normal in UT-7 and UT-7/E8 cells. A decreased HLA-I induction and nuclear phospho-STAT1 nuclear translocation were also observed in blasts from most chronic myelogenous leukemia patients in response to IFNgamma. These results outline the crucial role of IFNgamma in the control of target cell susceptibility to lysis by activated NK cells and indicate that the altered response to IFNgamma in BCR/ABL targets may preserve these cells from the cytokine-induced negative regulatory effect on their susceptibility to NK-mediated lysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benzamides
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl / biosynthesis
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl / genetics
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl / immunology*
  • HLA Antigens / immunology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Interferon-alpha / pharmacology
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / blood
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / immunology
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / therapy
  • Piperazines / pharmacology
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transfection


  • Benzamides
  • HLA Antigens
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Piperazines
  • Pyrimidines
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl