Besides their role in destruction of altered self-cells, NK cells have been shown to potentiate T-cell responses by interacting with DC. To take advantage of NK-DC crosstalk in therapeutic DC-based vaccination for infectious diseases and cancer, it is essential to understand the biology of this crosstalk. We aimed to elucidate the in vitro mechanisms responsible for NK-cell recruitment and activation by DC during infection. To mimic bacterial infection, DC were exposed to a membrane fraction of Klebsiella pneumoniae, which triggers TLR2/4. DC matured with these bacterial fragments can actively recruit NK cells in a CCR5-dependent manner. An additional mechanism of DC-induced NK-cell recruitment is characterized by the induction of CCR7 expression on CD56(dim) CD16(+) NK cells after physical contact with membrane fraction of K. pneumoniae-matured DC, resulting in an enhanced migratory responsiveness to the lymph node-associated chemokine CCL19. Bacterial fragment-matured DC do not only mediate NK-cell migration but also meet the prerequisites needed for augmentation of NK-cell cytotoxicity and IFN-γ production, the latter of which contributes to Th1 polarization.
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