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Chem Biol. 2005 Jun;12(6):677-83.

Synthetic alpha-mannosyl ceramide as a potent stimulant for an NKT cell repertoire bearing the invariant Valpha19-Jalpha26 TCR alpha chain.

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Developmental Immunology Unit, Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences, Tokyo 194-8511, Japan.


A NKT cell repertoire is characterized by the expression of the Valpha19-Jalpha26 invariant TCR alpha chain (Valpha19 NKT cell). This repertoire, as well as a well-established Valpha14-Jalpha281 invariant TCR alpha(+) NKT cell subset (Valpha14 NKT cell), has been suggested to have important roles in the regulation of the immune system and, thus, is a major therapeutic target. Here, we attempted to find specific antigens for Valpha19 NKT cells. Valpha19 as well as Valpha14 NKT cells exhibited reactivity to alpha-galactosyl ceramide (alpha-GalCer). Thus, a series of monoglycosyl ceramides with an axially oriented glycosidic linkage between the sugar and ceramide moiety were synthesized and their antigenicity to Valpha19 NKT cells was determined by measuring their immune responses in culture with glycolipids. Comprehensive examinations revealed substantial antigenic activity for Valpha19 NKT cells by alpha-mannosyl ceramide.

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