Natural killer-cell differentiation by myeloid progenitors

Bartosz Grzywacz, Nandini Kataria, Niketa Kataria, Bruce R. Blazar, Jeffrey S. Miller, Michael R. Verneris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Because lymphoid progenitors can give rise to natural killer (NK) cells, NK ontogeny has been considered to be exclusively lymphoid. Here, we show that rare human CD34+ hematopoietic progenitors develop into NK cells in vitro in the presence of cytokines (interleukin-7, interleukin-15, stem cell factor, and fms-like tyrosine kinase-3 ligand). Adding hydrocortisone and stromal cells greatly increases the frequency of progenitor cells that give rise to NK cells through the recruitment of myeloid precursors, including common myeloid progenitors and granulocytic-monocytic precursors to the NK-cell lineage. WNT signaling was involved in this effect. Cells at more advanced stages of myeloid differentiation (with increasing expression of CD13 and macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor [M-CSFR]) could also differentiate into NK cells in the presence of cytokines, stroma, and hydrocortisone. NK cells derived from myeloid precursors (CD56-CD117+M- CSFR+) showed more expression of killer immunoglobulin-like receptors, a fraction of killer immunoglobulin-like receptor-positive-expressing cells that lacked NKG2A, a higher cytotoxicity compared with CD56 -CD117+M-CSFR- precursor-derived NK cells and thus resemble the CD56dim subset of NK cells. Collectively, these studies show that NK cells can be derived from the myeloid lineage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3548-3558
Number of pages11
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 31 2011


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