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Natural killer (NK) receptor signaling can lead to reduced cytotoxicity by NK cells and cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in vitro. Whether T cells are inhibited in vivo remains unknown, since peptide antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells have so far not been found to express NK receptors in vivo. Here we demonstrate that melanoma patients may bear tumor-specific CTLs expressing NK receptors. The lysis of melanoma cells by patient-derived CTLs was inhibited by the NK receptor CD94/NKG2A. Thus, tumor-specific CTL activity may be decreased through NK receptor triggering in vivo.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Med

Publication Date





775 - 782


Antigens, CD, Antigens, Neoplasm, Cytotoxicity, Immunologic, Flow Cytometry, Humans, Killer Cells, Natural, Lectins, C-Type, Melanoma, Membrane Glycoproteins, NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily C, NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily D, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Receptors, Immunologic, Receptors, Natural Killer Cell, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic