KIR2DS1 and KIR2DL1-C245 Dominantly Repress NK Cell Degranulation Triggered by Monoclonal or Bispecific Antibodies, whereas Education by Uptuning Inhibitory Killer Ig-related Receptors Exerts No Advantage in Ab-dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity

J Immunol. 2024 Mar 1;212(5):868-880. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2300197.


NK cell responsiveness to target cells is tuned by interactions between inhibitory NK cell receptors and their cognate HLA class I ligands in a process termed "NK cell education." Previous studies addressing the role for NK cell education in Ab-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) show ambiguous results and do not encompass full educational resolution. In this study, we systematically characterized human NK cell CD16-triggered degranulation toward defined human tumor cell lines in the presence of either the mAb rituximab or a recently developed CD34xCD16 bispecific killer engager. Despite positive correlation between killer Ig-related receptor (KIR)-mediated education and CD16 expression, NK cells educated by one or even two inhibitory KIRs did not perform better in terms of ADCC than uneducated NK cells in either missing-self or KIR-ligand matched settings at saturating Ab concentrations. Instead, NKG2A+ NK cells consistently showed more potent ADCC in the missing-self context despite lower levels of CD16 expression. KIR2DS1+ NK cells demonstrated dampened ADCC in both the missing-self and KIR-ligand matched settings, even in the presence of its ligand HLA C2. The lower response by KIR2DS1+ NK cells was also observed when stimulated with a bispecific killer engager. Surprisingly, repression of ADCC was also observed by NKG2A+ NK cells coexpressing the inhibitory KIR2DL1-C245 receptor that confers weak education. In conclusion, our study suggests that NK cell education by inhibitory KIRs does not augment ADCC per se, whereas expression of KIR2DS1 and KIR2DL1-C245 dominantly represses ADCC. These insights add to the fundamental understanding of NK cells and may have implications for their therapeutic use.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bispecific*
  • Cell Degranulation
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, KIR
  • Receptors, KIR2DL1


  • Antibodies, Bispecific
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, KIR
  • KIR2DL1 protein, human
  • Receptors, KIR2DL1
  • KIR2DS1 protein, human