Expression of bovine non-classical major histocompatibility complex class I proteins in mouse P815 and human K562 cells

Parveen Parasar, Utah State University
Amanda Wilhelm, Utah State University
Heloisa M. Rutigliano, Utah State University
Aaron J. Thomas, Utah State University
Lihong Teng, Utah State University
Bi Shi, Utah State University
William C. Davis, Washington State University
Carlos E. Suarez, Washington State University
Daniel D. New, Washington State University
Kenneth L. White, Utah State University
Christopher J. Davies, Utah State University


Major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) proteins can be expressed as cell surface or secreted proteins. To investigate whether bovine non-classical MHC-I proteins are expressed as cell surface or secreted proteins, and to assess the reactivity pattern of monoclonal antibodies with non-classical MHC-I isoforms, we expressed the MHC proteins in murine P815 and human K562 (MHC-I deficient) cells. Following antibiotic selection, stably transfected cell lines were stained with H1A or W6/32 antibodies to detect expression of the MHC-I proteins by flow cytometry. Two non-classical proteins (BoLA-NC1*00501 and BoLA-NC3*00101) were expressed on the cell surface in both cell lines. Surprisingly, the BoLA-NC4*00201 protein was expressed on the cell membrane of human K562 but not mouse P815 cells. Two non-classical proteins (BoLA-NC1*00401, which lacks a transmembrane domain, and BoLA-NC2*00102) did not exhibit cell surface expression. Nevertheless, Western blot analyses demonstrated expression of the MHC-I heavy chain in all transfected cell lines. Ammonium-sulfate precipitation of proteins from culture supernatants showed that BoLA-NC1*00401 was secreted and that all surface expressed proteins where shed from the cell membrane by the transfected cells. Interestingly, the surface expressed MHC-I proteins were present in culture supernatants at a much higher concentration than BoLA-NC1*00401. This comprehensive study shows that bovine non-classical MHC-I proteins BoLA-NC1*00501, BoLA-NC3*00101, and BoLA-NC4*00201 are expressed as surface isoforms with the latter reaching the cell membrane only in K562 cells. Furthermore, it demonstrated that BoLA-NC1*00401 is a secreted isoform and that significant quantities of membrane associated MHC-I proteins can be shed from the cell membrane.