Runx proteins are involved in regulation of CD122, Ly49 family and IFN-gamma expression during NK cell differentiation

Int Immunol. 2008 Jan;20(1):71-9. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxm120. Epub 2007 Nov 13.


Runx family proteins play indispensable roles in the development of various hematopoietic lineage cells. However, their function in NK cells is still uncertain. We found that NK cells and CD8 T cells dominantly express Runx3 protein, whereas NKT cells and CD4 T cells express Runx1. Reverse transcription-PCR analysis revealed that Runx3 expression is initiated at the NK precursor stage and is maintained along the course of NK cell differentiation. In order to examine their role in the earlier stage of NK cell development, we introduced Runx dominant-negative (Runx dn) form into Lin(-)c-kit(+)Sca-1(+) hematopoietic stem cells, which were applied to NK cell-inducing culture. Post-cultured cells showed a decreased expression of IL-2/IL-15 common receptor beta subunit (CD122), consistent with another finding that Runx binds to promoter region of CD122 gene. To examine the Runx function in the later developmental stage, we used transgenic mouse, in which Runx dn form is expressed in immature and mature NK cells. This mouse showed decreased expressions of NK maturation markers, such as Ly49 family, Mac-1 and CD43, whereas IFN-gamma production was greatly enhanced. These findings suggest that Runx proteins, especially Runx3, play multiple roles in NK cell differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Ly / genetics
  • Antigens, Ly / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit / genetics
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit / metabolism
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit / genetics
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor beta Subunit / genetics
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor beta Subunit / metabolism*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lectins, C-Type / genetics
  • Lectins, C-Type / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptors, NK Cell Lectin-Like


  • Antigens, Ly
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit
  • Il2rb protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor beta Subunit
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Receptors, NK Cell Lectin-Like
  • Runx1 protein, mouse
  • Interferon-gamma