S100A14 Is Increased in Activated NK Cells and Plasma of HIV-Exposed Seronegative People Who Inject Drugs and Promotes Monocyte–NK Crosstalk

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Background:HIV-exposed seronegative people who inject drugs (HESN-PWID) have been shown to have increased natural killer (NK) cell and myeloid activation when compared with control donors.Methods:We investigated potential mechanisms maintaining NK activation by conducting quantitative proteome comparisons of NK cells from HESN-PWID subjects and control donors. Proteins upregulated in NK cells were measured in the plasma of HESN-PWID subjects by ELISA and further investigated for their ability to induce innate immune activation in vitro.Results:The NK cell proteome comparison showed markedly higher levels of interferon-stimulated proteins and S100 proteins, including S100A14. Consistent with these results, we observed significantly higher levels of S100A14 in the plasma of HESN-PWID subjects compared with controls (P = 0.033, n = 25). In vitro, the addition of recombinant S100A14 protein significantly activated NK cells in a peripheral blood mononuclear cell mixture (P = 0.011, n = 9), but not purified NK cells alone. Treatment of purified monocytes with recombinant S100A14 protein induced secretion of TNF-alpha and led to significantly higher NK CD69 activation (P = 0.0156, n = 7) in a co-culture through a TLR4-dependent interaction.Conclusions:Our study identified S100A14 as a novel protein increased within NK cells and plasma of HESN-PWID subjects with the capacity to sustain NK activation through TLR4-dependent activation of myeloid cells.

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