Evidence that lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cell function is regulated by both serine and tyrosine kinase pathways

Mitchell Jay Frederick, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Signal transduction pathways operative in lymphokine activated killer (LAK) cells during execution of cytolytic function have never been characterized. Based on ubiquitous involvement of protein phosphorylation in activation of cytolytic mechanisms used by CTL and NK cells, it was hypothesized that changes in protein phosphorylation should occur when LAK encounter tumor targets. It was further hypothesized that protein kinases would regulate LAK-mediated cytotoxicity. Exposure to either SK-Mel-1 (melanoma) or Raji (lymphoma) targets consistently led to increased phosphorylation of two 65-kD LAK proteins pp65a and -b, with isoelectric points (pI) of 5.1 and 5.2 respectively. Increased p65 phosphorylation was initiated between 1 and 5 min after tumor coincubation, occurred on Ser residues, required physical contact between LAK and tumors, correlated with target recognition, and also occurred after crosslinking Fc$\gamma$RIIIA in the absence of tumors. Both pp65a and -b were tentatively identified as phosphorylated forms of the actin-bundling protein L-plastin, based on pI, molecular weight, and cross-reactivity with specific antiserum. The known biochemical properties of L-plastin suggest it may be involved in regulating adhesion of LAK to tumor targets. The protein tyrosine kinase-specific inhibitor Herb A did not block p65 phosphorylation, but blocked LAK killing of multiple tumor targets at a post-binding stage. Greater than 50% inhibition of cytotoxicity was observed after a 2.5-h pretreatment with 0.125 $\mu$g/ml Herb A. Inhibition occurred over a period in pretreatment which LAK were not dependent upon IL-2 for maintenance of killing activity, supporting the conclusion that the drug interfered with mobilization of cytotoxic function. Granule exocytosis measured by BLT-esterase release from LAK occurred after coincubation with tumors, and was inhibited by Herb A LAK cytotoxicity was dependent upon extracellular calcium, suggesting that granule exocytosis rather than Fas ligand was the principal pathway leading to target cell death. The data indicate that protein tyrosine kinases play a pivotal role in LAK cytolytic function by regulating granule exocytosis, and that tumor targets can activate an adhesion dependent Ser kinase pathway in LAK resulting in phosphorylation of L-plastin.

Subject Area

Immunology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Frederick, Mitchell Jay, "Evidence that lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cell function is regulated by both serine and tyrosine kinase pathways" (1995). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9619709.