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Accession IconGSE35330

Cellular senescence reprograms human NK cells to promote vascular remodeling

Organism Icon Homo sapiens
Sample Icon 23 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge Icon Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array (hgu133plus2)

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Natural killer (NK) cells are lymphocytes that participate in immune responses through their cytotoxic activity and secretion of cytokines and chemokines. They can be activated by interaction with ligands on target cells or by soluble mediators such as cytokines. In addition, soluble HLA-G, a major histocompatibility complex molecule secreted by fetal trophoblast cells during early pregnancy, stimulates resting NK cells to secrete proinflammatory and proangiogenic factors. Human NK cells are abundant in uterus, where they remain after implantation. Soluble HLA-G is endocytosed into early endosomes of NK cells where its receptor, CD158d, initiates a signaling cascade through DNA-PKcs, Akt and NF-kB3. The physiological relevance of this endosomal signaling pathway, and how the fate and function of NK cells during early pregnancy is regulated, is unknown. Here we show that soluble agonists of CD158d trigger DNA damage response signaling and p21 (CIP1/WAF1) expression to promote senescence in primary NK cells. CD158d engagement resulted in morphological alterations in cell size and shape, chromatin remodeling, and survival in the absence of proliferation, all hallmarks of senescence. Microarray analysis revealed a senescence signature of upregulated genes upon sustained activation through CD158d. The proinflammatory and proangiogenic factors secreted by these metabolically active NK cells are part of a senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP) that promoted tissue remodeling and angiogenesis as assessed by functional readouts of vascular permeability and endothelial cell tube formation. We propose that ligand-induced senescence is a molecular switch for the sustained activation of NK cells in response to soluble HLA-G for the purpose of remodeling the maternal vasculature in early pregnancy.
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