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Two Flow Cytometric Approaches of NKG2D Ligand Surface Detection to Distinguish Stem Cells from Bulk Subpopulations in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Landerer Henrik, Arnone Marlon, Wieboldt Ronja, Goersch Elsa, Stanger Anna M. Paczulla, Konantz Martina, Lengerke Claudia,
Project Absence of NKG2D ligands on leukemia-initiating cells links stemness to immune evasion
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Visualized Experiments
Page(s) 1 - 14
Title of proceedings Journal of Visualized Experiments
DOI 10.3791/61803


Within the same patient, absence of NKG2D ligands (NKG2DL) surface expression was shown to distinguish leukemic subpopulations with stem cell properties (so called leukemic stem cells, LSCs) from more differentiated counterpart leukemic cells that lack disease initiation potential although they carry similar leukemia specific genetic mutations. NKG2DL are biochemically highly diverse MHC class I-like self-molecules. Healthy cells in homeostatic conditions generally do not express NKG2DL on the cell surface. Instead, expression of these ligands is induced upon exposure to cellular stress (e.g., oncogenic transformation or infectious stimuli) to trigger elimination of damaged cells via lysis through NKG2D-receptor-expressing immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells. Interestingly, NKG2DL surface expression is selectively suppressed in LSC subpopulations, allowing these cells to evade NKG2D-mediated immune surveillance. Here, we present a side-by-side analysis of two different flow cytometry methods that allow the investigation of NKG2DL surface expression on cancer cells i.e., a method involving pan-ligand recognition and a method involving staining with multiple antibodies against single ligands. These methods can be used to separate viable NKG2DL negative cellular subpopulations with putative cancer stem cell properties from NKG2DL positive non-LSC.