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J Virol. 2003 Jul;77(14):8153-8.

Identification and simian immunodeficiency virus infection of CD1d-restricted macaque natural killer T cells.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University Medical School, 21st Avenue South, Medical Center North, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


Natural killer T (NKT) cells express a highly conserved T-cell receptor (TCR) and recognize glycolipids in the context of CD1d molecules. We recently demonstrated that CD4+ NKT cells are highly susceptible to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and are selectively depleted in HIV-infected individuals. Here, we identified macaque NKT cells using CD1d tetramers and human Valpha24 antibodies. Similar to human NKT cells, alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer)-pulsed dendritic cells activate and expand macaque NKT cells. Upon restimulation with alpha-GalCer-pulsed CD1d(+) cells, macaque NKT cells secreted high levels of cytokines, a characteristic of these T cells. Remarkably, the majority of resting and activated macaque NKT cells expressed CD8, and a smaller portion expressed CD4. Macaque NKT cells also expressed the HIV-1/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) coreceptor CCR5, and the CD4+ subset was susceptible to SIV infection. Identification of macaque NKT cells has major implications for delineating the role of these cells in nonhuman primate disease models of HIV as well as other pathological conditions, such as allograft rejection and autoimmunity.

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