TRAIL is an apoptosis-inducing ligand constitutively expressed on liver-resident type 1 innate lymphoid cells (ILC1s) and a subset of natural killer (NK) cells, where it contributes to NK cell anti-tumor, anti-viral, and immunoregulatory functions. However, the intrinsic pathways involved in TRAIL expression in ILCs remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the murine natural cytotoxic receptor mNKp46/NCR1, expressed on ILC1s and NK cells, controls TRAIL protein expression. Using NKp46-deficient mice, we show that ILC1s lack constitutive expression of TRAIL protein and that NK cells activated in vitro and in vivo fail to upregulate cell surface TRAIL in the absence of NKp46. We show that NKp46 regulates TRAIL expression in a dose-dependent manner and that the reintroduction of NKp46 in mature NK cells deficient for NKp46 is sufficient to restore TRAIL surface expression. These studies uncover a link between NKp46 and TRAIL expression in ILCs with potential implications in pathologies involving NKp46-expressing cells.
Keywords: IL-15; IL-2; ILC1; NK cell; NKp46; TRAIL; natural killer cell.
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