We analyzed the recently defined ability of CD3-CD16+ cells to specifically recognize and lyse normal allogeneic target cells (PHA-induced blasts). The susceptibility to lysis by a given alloreactive natural killer (NK) clone ("1 anti-A") was expressed by PHA blasts derived from 9 of 38 random donors analyzed. In all instances, the specific lysis of "susceptible" target cells was greater than 35% while that of "nonsusceptible" targets was less than 6% at an E/T cell ratio of 5:1. In addition to 1 anti-A, A anti-1 specific CD3-CD16+ clones could also be isolated from the reverse MLC combination. The relationship existing between lysis of normal allogeneic cells or tumor cells by the same CD3-CD16+ effector cell has been investigated: 1 anti-A specific CD3-CD16+ clones lysed PHA blasts of three of six cancer patients, while they lysed fresh tumor cells (ovarian carcinoma) from all six patients. The type of inheritance of the character "susceptibility to lysis" was analyzed in representative families. This analysis revealed that the character is inherited in an autosomic recessive fashion, and it is therefore different from MHC. We further investigated the type of segregation of the opposite character "resistance to lysis" (which is inherited in a dominant mode). The finding that this character segregated in all donors expressing given MHC haplotypes indicated that the gene regulating the expression of the NK-defined alloantigen is present on chromosome 6.

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