In the immune system, degranulation/exocytosis from lymphocytes is crucial for life through facilitating eradication of infected and malignant cells. Dysfunction of the NK cell exocytosis process has been implicated with devastating immune diseases, such as familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms of such processes have remained elusive. In particular, although the lytic granule exocytosis from NK cells is strictly Ca2+-dependent, the molecular identity of the Ca2+ sensor has yet to be identified. In this article, we show multiple lines of evidence in which point mutations in aspartic acid residues in both C2 domains of human Munc13-4, whose mutation underlies familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis type 3, diminished exocytosis with dramatically altered Ca2+ sensitivity in both mouse primary NK cells as well as rat mast cell lines. Furthermore, these mutations within the C2 domains severely impaired NK cell cytotoxicity against malignant cells. Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy analysis revealed that the mutations strikingly altered Ca2+ dependence of fusion pore opening of each single granule and frequency of fusion events. Our results demonstrate that both C2 domains of Munc13-4 play critical roles in Ca2+-dependent exocytosis and cytotoxicity by regulating single-granule membrane fusion dynamics in immune cells. The Journal of Immunology, 2018, 201: 700–713.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy