Research Papers:

Overexpression of LLT1 (OCIL, CLEC2D) on prostate cancer cells inhibits NK cell-mediated killing through LLT1-NKRP1A (CD161) interaction

Stephen O. Mathew _, Pankaj Chaudhary, Sheila B. Powers, Jamboor K. Vishwanatha and Porunelloor A. Mathew

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:68650-68661. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11896

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Stephen O. Mathew1, Pankaj Chaudhary2, Sheila B. Powers1, Jamboor K. Vishwanatha2, Porunelloor A. Mathew1

1Department of Cell Biology and Immunology and Institute for Cancer Research, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA

2Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics and Institute for Cancer Research, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA

Correspondence to:

Stephen O. Mathew, email: [email protected]

Keywords: LLT1, prostate cancer, NKRP1A (CD161), NK cells, LLT1-NKRP1A interaction

Received: January 12, 2016     Accepted: August 22, 2016     Published: September 8, 2016


Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in American men. Natural Killer (NK) cells are the first line of defense against cancer and infections. NK cell function is regulated by a delicate balance between signals received through activating and inhibitory receptors. Previously, we identified Lectin-like transcript-1 (LLT1/OCIL/CLEC2D) as a counter-receptor for the NK cell inhibitory receptor NKRP1A (CD161). Interaction of LLT1 expressed on target cells with NKRP1A inhibits NK cell activation. In this study, we have found that LLT1 was overexpressed on prostate cancer cell lines (DU145, LNCaP, 22Rv1 and PC3) and in primary prostate cancer tissues both at the mRNA and protein level. We further showed that LLT1 is retained intracellularly in normal prostate cells with minimal cell surface expression. Blocking LLT1 interaction with NKRP1A by anti-LLT1 mAb on prostate cancer cells increased the NK-mediated cytotoxicity of prostate cancer cells. The results indicate that prostate cancer cells may evade immune attack by NK cells by expressing LLT1 to inhibit NK cell-mediated cytolytic activity through LLT1-NKRP1A interaction. Blocking LLT1-NKRP1A interaction will make prostate cancer cells susceptible to killing by NK cells and therefore may be a new therapeutic option for treatment of prostate cancer.

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