ICAM-2 redistributed by ezrin as a target for killer cells

Abstract

VERY little is known about the receptors and target molecules involved in natural killer (NK) cell activity. Here we present a model system in which interleukin-2-activated killing by NK cells depends on the intercellular adhesion molecule ICAM-2 and is regulated by the distribution of ICAM-2. The level of ICAM-2 expression in NK-sensitive and resistant cells is similar, but in sensitive cells ICAM-2 is concentrated into bud-like cellular projections known as uropods, whereas in resistant cells it is evenly distributed. The cytoskeletal–membrane linker protein ezrin is also localized in uropods. Transfection of human ezrin into NK-resistant cells induces uropod formation, redistribution of ICAM-2 and ezrin, and sensitizes target cells to interleukin-2-activated killing. These results reveal a new mechanism of target-cell recognition: cytotoxic cells recognize adhesion molecules that are already present on normal cells, but in diseased cells are concentrated into a biologically active cell-surface region by cytoskeletal reorganization. The results also highlight the importance of cytoskeletal interactions in the regulation of ICAM-2-mediated adhesive phenomena.

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Helander, T., Carpén, O., Turunen, O. et al. ICAM-2 redistributed by ezrin as a target for killer cells. Nature 382, 265–268 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1038/382265a0

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