Ligation of MHC class I and class II molecules can lead to heterologous desensitization of signal transduction pathways that regulate homotypic adhesion in human lymphocytes.
Engagement of lymphocyte MHC class I and class II Ags activates an array of intracellular signal transduction pathways that up-regulates the activity of cell-surface adhesion receptors, resulting in homotypic cell-cell aggregation. In this study, engagement of MHC class I and class II molecules with specific mAbs was shown to also inhibit lymphocyte homotypic adhesion. Two mAbs reactive with class II Ag, homotypic adhesion blocking mAb (HAB)-2, and HAB-3, and one mAb reactive with class I Ag, HAB-4, were generated that inhibited homotypic adhesion of activated lymphocytes and B and T cell lines at concentrations as low as 0.1 microgram/ml. Binding of these mAbs resulted in heterologous desensitization of other surface signal transduction molecules as homotypic adhesion induced through class I, class II, CD19, CD20, CD39, CD40, Leu-13, and PMA was also inhibited. The spontaneous adhesion exhibited by some cell lines was also abrogated by binding of these mAbs. Abs that either induced, blocked, or had no effect on adhesion bound to distinct epitopes on class I, whereas the anti-class II mAbs recognized either distinct or overlapping epitopes. Thus, engagement of distinct epitopes on MHC molecules can result in homologous or heterologous desensitization of cell-surface signaling molecules. The induction or inhibition of homotypic adhesion through class I molecules did not require the presence of the cytoplasmic domain, as deletion of this portion of the class I molecule had no effect. In contrast, the transmembrane region was essential for signal transduction as the mAbs binding to a chimeric molecule in which the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of class I were exchanged with those of the HB15 molecule did not induce or inhibit homotypic adhesion. Although this report is the first demonstration that homotypic adhesion can be influenced in a negative manner through MHC molecules, these findings demonstrate a considerable level of cross-talk between MHC molecules and other cell-surface receptor systems and their signal transduction pathways, and suggests that MHC class I and class II molecules may serve important roles in the regulation of adhesive events during lymphocyte activation.
Wagner, N; Engel, P; Vega, M; Tedder, TF
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