Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

After accumulation of target cell human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-C at inhibitory natural killer (NK) cell immune synapses, some HLA-C transfers from target cells to NK cell plasma membranes and cytoplasm. This unexpected intercellular transfer of HLA-C is dependent on NK receptor recognition, since HLA-Cw6 or -Cw4 but not -Cw3 transfer to an NK transfectant expressing killer Ig-like receptor (KIR)2DL1. Strikingly, live-cell time-lapse laser scanning confocal microscopy shows vesicles containing target cell green fluorescent protein-tagged HLA-C migrating away from immune synapses into NK cells. Unlike clustering of HLA-C at the immune synapse, intercellular transfer of HLA-C is dependent on NK cell ATP, but not target cell ATP. However, the intercellular transfer of HLA-C is not dependent on active polymerization of the actin cytoskeleton. In addition, different arrangements of HLA-C are seen at inhibitory NK immune synapses, and these alter as NK synapses mature, but in a fashion distinct from that seen upon T cell activation.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Med

Publication Date





1507 - 1517


Adenosine Triphosphate, Biological Transport, Cell Line, Cytoskeleton, HLA-C Antigens, Humans, Killer Cells, Natural, Receptors, Immunologic, Receptors, KIR2DL1, Synapses