We report evidence that murine NK cells express a functional Fc gamma RII encoded by the Fc gamma RII alpha gene. Several lines of indirect evidence indicate that freshly obtained NK cells from mice of several strains bear a functional Fc gamma RII: (a) anti-Fc gamma RII antibody 2.4G2 detects a small but significant proportion of sIg- cells and a small proportion of the 2.4G2+ cells are included in the Thy-1+ population; (b) sIg- lymphocytes contain 2.4G2+ and Fc gamma R-bearing cells in similar proportions; (c) binding of particulate immune complexes by sIg- lymphocytes is completely inhibited by 2.4G2; (d) 2.4G2+ cells mediate greater than 50% of the spontaneous cytotoxicity in sIg- splenic lymphocytes. Direct evidence for the presence of Fc gamma RII on murine NK cells is provided by the results of two-color immunofluorescence studies performed on splenic lymphocytes from C57BL/6 mice showing coexpression of NK-1.1 and 2.4G2. Studies of in vitro propagated homogeneous NK cell populations confirm that murine NK cells express only Fc gamma RII and that this Fc gamma R is functional, as shown in experiments of inhibition of ADCC by the anti-Fc gamma RII antibody 2.4G2. The results of studies at the molecular level show that an Fc gamma RII alpha transcript identical to that expressed in macrophages is the only molecule encoding Fc gamma RII in murine NK cells.

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