PROBLEM: R80K is a polymorphic alloantigeneic protein present on human placental trophoblast and on paternal B lymphocytes and monocytes. This protein, unlike the former candidate TLX antigen, stimulates a protective maternal immune response in vivo. A murine monoclonal BA11 antibody, directed against R80K, prevents abortion in three murine pregnancy-failure models and inhibits human and murine NK activity. We attempted to define the target of BA11 in the human NK assay system.
METHODS: A CELISA method was used to detect R80K antigen on the surface of different cells using the BA11 antibody. The effect, on human peripheral blood NK activity against K562, by BA11 before and after absorption by different cells, including the K562 target, was determined.
RESULTS: R80K was detected on term placental syncytio and cytotrophoblast and on BeWo cells, by CELISA. BA11 suppressed NK lysis of K562 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Absorption of the BA11 by BeWo and by cytotrophoblastic cells significantly decreased the NK-inhibitory activity. There was minimal absorption by K562 and BA11-pretreated K562 cells remained susceptible to NK lysis. By contrast, BA11-pretreated peripheral blood cells lost all NK activity.
CONCLUSIONS: The inhibition of NK killing of K562 cells by BA11 is more complex than a simple masking of a trophoblast cell-associated molecule in K562 necessary for recognition in NK cells.