A novel ligand in lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxicity: Expression of the β subunit of H+ transporting ATP synthase on the surface of tumor cell lines

Ballabh Das, Mary O.H. Mondragon, Minoo Sadeghian, Victor B. Hatcher, Allen J. Norin

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115 Scopus citations


Extracellular adenosine triphosphate (eATP) has been suggested to play a role in lymphocyteinduced tumor destruction. We now provide evidence that a protein responsible for ATP synthesis in mitochondria may also play a physiologic role in major histocompatibility complex-independent, lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxicity. A 51.5-kD protein (p51.5) beating structural and immunologic characteristics of the β subunit of H+ transporting ATP synthase (E.C., β-H+ATPase, published molecular mass of 51.6 kD) was detected on the plasma membrane of three different human tumor cell lines studied. NH2-terminal amino acid sequence analysis of purified p51.5 from K562 tumor cells revealed 100% homology of 16 residues identified in the first 21 positions to the known sequence of human mitochondrial β-H+ ATPase. Antibody directed against a 2liner peptide in the ATP binding region of B-H+ATPase (anti-β) reacted with only one band on Western blots of whole tumor extracts and tumor membrane extracts suggesting that the antiserum reacts with a single species of protein. Anti-β reacted with the cell membranes of tumor ceils as determined by fluorescence-activated flow cytometry and immunoprecipitated a 51.5-kD protein from surface-labeled neoplastic cells (but not human erythrocytes and lymphocytes). Purified p51.5 bound to human lymphocytes and inhibited natural killer (NK) cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Furthermore, anti-β treatment of the K562 and A549 tumor cell lines inhibited NK (by >95%) and interleukin 2-activated killer (LAK) cell (by 75%) cytotoxicity, respectively. Soluble p51.5 upon binding to lymphocytes retained its reactivity to anti-β suggesting that the ATP binding domain and the lymphocyte-receptor binding domain reside in distinct regions of the ligand. These results suggest that B-H +ATPase or a nearly identical molecule is an important ligand in the effector phase (rather than the recognition phase) of a cytolytic pathway used by naive NK and LAK cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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