Supplementary Material for: Virus-Infected Human Mast Cells Enhance Natural Killer Cell Functions

Mucosal surfaces are protected from infection by both structural and sentinel cells, such as mast cells. The mast cell's role in antiviral responses is poorly understood; however, they selectively recruit natural killer (NK) cells following infection. Here, the ability of virus-infected mast cells to enhance NK cell functions was examined. Cord blood-derived human mast cells infected with reovirus (Reo-CBMC) and subsequent mast cell products were used for the stimulation of human NK cells. NK cells upregulated the CD69 molecule and cytotoxicity-related genes, and demonstrated increased cytotoxic activity in response to Reo-CBMC soluble products. NK cell interferon (IFN)-γ production was also promoted in the presence of interleukin (IL)-18. In vivo, SCID mice injected with Reo-CBMC in a subcutaneous Matrigel model, could recruit and activate murine NK cells, a property not shared by normal human fibroblasts. Soluble products of Reo-CBMC included IL-10, TNF, type I and type III IFNs. Blockade of the type I IFN receptor abrogated NK cell activation. Furthermore, reovirus-infected mast cells expressed multiple IFN-α subtypes not observed in reovirus-infected fibroblasts or epithelial cells. Our data define an important mast cell IFN response, not shared by structural cells, and a subsequent novel mast cell-NK cell immune axis in human antiviral host defense.