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The capacity of natural killer (NK) cells to mediate Fc receptor-dependent effector functions, such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), largely contributes to their clinical application. Given that activation-induced C-type lectin (AICL), an identified ligand for the NK-activating receptor NKp80, is frequently highly expressed on leukemia cells, the lack of therapeutic AICL-specific antibodies limits clinical application. Here we explore a strategy to reinforce NK anti-leukemia reactivity by combining targeting AICL-expressing leukemia cells with the induction of NK cell ADCC using NKp80-Fc fusion proteins. The NKp80-Fc fusion protein we generated bound specifically to leukemia cells in an AICL-specific manner. Cell binding assays between NK and leukemia cells showed that NKp80-Fc significantly increased NK target cell conjugation. In functional analyses, treatment with NKp80-Fc clearly induced the ADCC effect of NK cells. NKp80-Fc not only promoted NK-mediated leukemia cell apoptosis in the early stage of cell conjugation but also enhanced NK cell degranulation and cytotoxicity activity in the late stage. The bifunctional NKp80-Fc could redirect NK cells toward leukemia cells and triggered NK cell killing in vitro. Moreover, NKp80-Fc enhanced the lysis of NK cells against tumors in leukemia xenograft non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency mice. Taken together, our results demonstrate that NKp80-Fc potently amplifies NK cell anti-leukemia effects in vitro and in vivo through induction of the NK cell ADCC effect. This method could potentially be useful for molecular targeted therapy, and the fusion proteins may be a promising drug for immunotherapy of leukemia. © 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Gang Deng, Xiaodong Zheng, Jing Zhou, Haiming Wei, Zhigang Tian, Rui Sun. Generation and preclinical characterization of an NKp80-Fc fusion protein for redirected cytolysis of natural killer (NK) cells against leukemia. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2015 Sep 11;290(37):22474-84

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PMID: 26198633

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