CMV Primes Functional Alternative Signaling in Adaptive Δg NK Cells but Is Subverted by Lentivirus Infection in Rhesus Macaques

Spandan V. Shah, Cordelia Manickam, Daniel R. Ram, Kyle Kroll, Hannah Itell, Sallie R. Permar, Dan H. Barouch, Nichole R. Klatt, R. Keith Reeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Despite burgeoning evidence demonstrating the adaptive properties of natural killer (NK) cells, mechanistic data explaining these phenomena are lacking. Following antibody sensitization, NK cells lacking the Fc receptor (FcR) signaling chain (Δg) acquire adaptive features, including robust proliferation, multifunctionality, rapid killing, and mobilization to sites of virus exposure. Using the rhesus macaque model, we demonstrate the systemic distribution of Δg NK cells expressing memory features, including downregulated Helios and Eomes. Furthermore, we find that Δg NK cells abandon typical γ-chain/Syk in lieu of CD3ζ-Zap70 signaling. FCγRIIIa (CD16) density, mucosal homing, and function are all coupled to this alternate signaling, which in itself requires priming by rhesus cytomegalovirus (rhCMV). Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infections further expand gut-homing adaptive NK cells but result in pathogenic suppression of CD3ζ-Zap70 signaling and function. Herein, we provide a mechanism of virus-dependent alternative signaling that may explain the acquisition of adaptive features by primate NK cells and could be targeted for future vaccine or curative therapies. Gamma-chain-deficient adaptive NK cells are robust mediators of antiviral immunity via ADCC. Shah et al. demonstrate using macaque models that acquisition of these features requires previous priming with CMV infection and involves alternative signaling via CD3zeta but is actively suppressed by lentivirus infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2766-2774.e3
JournalCell reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 4 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grants R01 AI120828 , P01 AI120756 , and R01 DE026014 (to R.K.R.); the Harvard Center for AIDS Research grant P30 AI060354 and colony grants U42 OD024282 , U42 OD010568 , and P51 OD011104 ; and by the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard (to D.H.B.). The authors thank Michelle Lifton, Dr. James Whitney, and Dr. So-yon Lim for their technical assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s)


  • CMV
  • HIV
  • innate immunity
  • natural killer cells
  • SIV


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