TIGIT is upregulated by HIV-1 infection and marks a highly functional adaptive and mature subset of natural killer cells
Vendrame, E., Seiler, C., Ranganath, T. et al.
Objective: Our objective was to investigate the mechanisms that govern natural killer (NK) cell responses to HIV, with a focus on specific receptor-ligand interactions involved in HIV recognition by NK cells.
Design and methods: We first performed a mass cytometry-based screen of NK cell receptor expression patterns in healthy controls and HIV individuals. We then focused mechanistic studies on the expression and function of T cell immunoreceptor with Ig and ITIM domains (TIGIT).
Results: The mass cytometry screen revealed that TIGIT is upregulated on NK cells of untreated HIV women, but not in antiretroviral-treated women. TIGIT is an inhibitory receptor that is thought to mark exhausted NK cells; however, blocking TIGIT did not improve anti-HIV NK cell responses. In fact, the TIGIT ligands CD112 and CD155 were not upregulated on CD4 T cells in vitro or in vivo, providing an explanation for the lack of benefit from TIGIT blockade. TIGIT expression marked a unique subset of NK cells that express significantly higher levels of NK cell activating receptors (DNAM-1, NTB-A, 2B4, CD2) and exhibit a mature/adaptive phenotype (CD57, NKG2C, LILRB1, FcRγ, Syk). Furthermore, TIGIT NK cells had increased responses to mock-infected and HIV-infected autologous CD4 T cells, and to PMA/ionomycin, cytokine stimulation and the K562 cancer cell line.
Conclusions: TIGIT expression is increased on NK cells from untreated HIV individuals. Although TIGIT does not participate directly to the response to HIV-infected cells, it marks a population of mature/adaptive NK cells with increased functional responses.
Vendrame, E., Seiler, C., Ranganath, T. et al. "TIGIT is upregulated by HIV-1 infection and marks a highly functional adaptive and mature subset of natural killer cells" AIDS (2020): DOI: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000002488