Requirement and Redundancy of the Src Family Kinases Fyn and Lyn in Perforin-Dependent Killing of Cryptococcus neoformans by NK Cells Journal Articles uri icon

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  • ABSTRACTNatural killer (NK) cells directly recognize and kill fungi, such as the pathogenic fungusCryptococcus neoformans, via cytolytic mechanisms. However, the precise signaling pathways governing this NK cell microbicidal activity and the implications for fungal recognition are still unknown. Previously, it was reported that NK cell anticryptococcal activity is mediated through a conserved phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase–extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (PI3K-ERK1/2) pathway. Using YT (a human NK-like cell line) and primary human NK cells, we sought to identify the upstream, receptor-proximal signaling elements that led to fungal cytolysis. We demonstrate that Src family kinases were activated in response toC. neoformans. Furthermore, pharmacologic inhibition with an Src kinase inhibitor blockedC. neoformans-induced downstream activation of PI3K and ERK1/2 and abrogated cryptococcal killing. At the same time, the inhibitor disrupted the polarization of perforin-containing granules toward the NK cell-cryptococcal synapse but had no effect on conjugate formation between the organism and the NK cell. Finally, small interfering RNA (siRNA) double (but not single) knockdown of two Src family kinases, Fyn and Lyn, blocked cryptococcal killing. Together these data demonstrate a mechanism whereby the Src family kinases, Fyn and Lyn, redundantly mediate anticryptococcal activity through the activation of PI3K and ERK1/2, which in turn facilitates killing by inducing the polarization of perforin-containing granules to the NK cell-cryptococcal synapse.


  • Oykhman, Paul
  • Timm-McCann, Martina
  • Xiang, Richard F
  • Islam, Anowara
  • Li, Shu Shun
  • Stack, Danuta
  • Huston, Shaunna M
  • Ma, Ling Ling
  • Mody, Christopher H

publication date

  • October 2013

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