Natural cytotoxic effector cell activity against Shigella flexneri-infected HeLa cells

G. R. Klimpel, D. W. Niesel, K. D. Klimpel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Virus and facultative intracellular bacteria both replicate within a host cell. The recognition and killing of virus-infected cells by natural killer (NK) cells is thought to be an important host immune function. However, little is known about immune recognition of bacteria-infected cells. In this report, we show for the first time that human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) and large granular lymphocytes (LGL) purified from PBL have significant levels of cytotoxic activity against Shigella flexneri infected HeLa cells. This cytotoxic activity was dependent on bacterial invasion of the HeLa cells, because HeLa cells pretreated with a noninvasive isogenic variant of S. flexneri or soluble bacterial products were not killed. Pretreatment of PBL with interleukin 2 (IL 2) or interferon-α greatly enhanced the cytotoxic activity of PBL against Shigella-infected HeLa cells. Cytotoxic activity present in PBL or in PBL pretreated with IL 2 was shown to be associated with both Leu-11+ and Leu-11- cell populations. These results suggest that NK cell killing of bacteria-infected cells may play an important role in host defense against facultative intracellular bacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1081-1086
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Natural cytotoxic effector cell activity against Shigella flexneri-infected HeLa cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this