Remodeling of secretory lysosomes during education tunes functional potential in NK cells

Nat Commun. 2019 Jan 31;10(1):514. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-08384-x.


Inhibitory signaling during natural killer (NK) cell education translates into increased responsiveness to activation; however, the intracellular mechanism for functional tuning by inhibitory receptors remains unclear. Secretory lysosomes are part of the acidic lysosomal compartment that mediates intracellular signalling in several cell types. Here we show that educated NK cells expressing self-MHC specific inhibitory killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) accumulate granzyme B in dense-core secretory lysosomes that converge close to the centrosome. This discrete morphological phenotype is independent of transcriptional programs that regulate effector function, metabolism and lysosomal biogenesis. Meanwhile, interference of signaling from acidic Ca2+ stores in primary NK cells reduces target-specific Ca2+-flux, degranulation and cytokine production. Furthermore, inhibition of PI(3,5)P2 synthesis, or genetic silencing of the PI(3,5)P2-regulated lysosomal Ca2+-channel TRPML1, leads to increased granzyme B and enhanced functional potential, thereby mimicking the educated state. These results indicate an intrinsic role for lysosomal remodeling in NK cell education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aminopyridines / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Granzymes / metabolism
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • K562 Cells
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism*
  • Lysosomal-Associated Membrane Protein 1 / genetics
  • Lysosomal-Associated Membrane Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / drug effects
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Receptors, KIR / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • 6-amino-N-(3-(4-(4-morpholinyl)pyrido(3',2'-4,5)furo(3,2-d)pyrimidin-2-yl)phenyl)-3-pyridinecarboxamide
  • Aminopyridines
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring
  • Lysosomal-Associated Membrane Protein 1
  • Receptors, KIR
  • Granzymes