Natural killer (NK) cells exhibit cytotoxicity against variety of tumor cells and virus-infected cells without prior sensitization and represent unique lymphocytes involved in primary host defense. NKR-P1 is thought to be one of NK receptors mediating activation signals because cross-linking of NKR-P1 activates NK cells to exhibit cytotoxicity and IFN-γ production. However, molecular mechanism of NK cell activation via NKR-P1 is not well elucidated. In this study, we analyzed the cell surface complex associated with NKR-P1 on NK cells and found that NKR-P1 associates with the FcRγ chain which is an essential component of Fc receptors for IgG and IgE. The association between FcRγ and NKR-P1 is independent of Fc receptor complexes. Furthermore, NK cells from FcRγ-deficient mice did not show cytotoxicity or IFN-γ production upon NKR-P1 cross-linking. Similarly, NK1.1 + T cells from FcRγ-deficient mice did not produce IFN-γ upon NKR-P1 crosslinking. These findings demonstrate that the FcRγ chain plays an important role in activation of NK cells via the NKR-P1 molecule.
Jak3 mediates growth signals through cytokine receptors such as interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4, and IL-7, and its deficiency results in autosomal recessive SCID in mice and humans. In spite of the severely reduced number of lymphocytes in Jak3-deficient mice, the differentiation profile of thymocytes was normal and mature T cells accumulated in the periphery with age. However, we found that self-reactive T cells were not deleted in the thymus and the peripheral tissues in Jak3-deficient mice. All peripheral T cells were in the activation state and thus were unable to be activated further, as demonstrated by the failure of eliciting Ca 2+ response upon T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation. From the analysis of TCR-transgenic Jak3-deficient mice, only self-reactive T cells appeared to be in the activated state and anergic. These findings demonstrate a crucial function of Jak3 in the negative selection of autoreactive T cells and the maintenance of functional peripheral T cells.