Natural cytotoxicity against mouse hepatitis virus-infected cells. II. A cytotoxic effector cell with a B lymphocytes phenotype

R. M. Welsh, M. V. Haspel, D. C. Parker, K. V. Holmes

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33 Scopus citations


The effector cell in mouse spleen which mediates natural cytotoxicity against mouse hepatitis virus (MHV)-infected target cells was characterized. The target cells were HMV-infected BALB/c 3T3, and the assay time was 3 hr. The effector cell, designated virus killer (VK) cell for the purpose of discussion, had the following phenotype: lymphocyte morphology, plastic-nonadherent, nylon wool-adherent, nonphagocytic, cyclophosphamide-sensitive; by antibody plus complement (C) depletion studies, it was asialo GM1-, NK 1.2 alloantigen-negative, Thy-1,2-, Lyt-5-, and macrophage antigen-negative; by rosetting techniques, it was Fc receptor-positive and surface Fab+; by flow cytometry (FACS) analysis, it was Lyt-2-, MAC-1-, Ia+, IgG (γ)+, IgM (μ)+, IgD (δ)+, and B cell lineage antibody B-220+. NK cells, measured for cytotoxicity on YAC-1 cells, were similarly tested and were found to differ from the VK cell in the following properties: nylon wool-nonadherent, asialo GM1+, NK alloantigen-positive, Lyt-5+, surface Fab-, MAC-1+, Ia-, IgG-, Igm-, IgD-, and B-220-. The VK effector cell had a phenotype highly distinguishable from NK cells, effectors most commonly associated with antiviral natural cytotoxicity. The VK cell had a phenotype identical to that of a B lymphocyte and was identified as such. Although the effector cells displayed cell surface antibody, the antibody did not appear to be involved in lysis, because lysis could not be blocked by F(ab)'2 directed against Fab, μ, or δ. Cytotoxicity was more likely associated with recognition of the B lymphocyte surface by the MHV glycoprotein E2, as shown in the accompanying companion paper. This is the first demonstration that natural cytotoxicity can be mediated by B lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1454-1460
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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