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J Immunol. 2006 Feb 15;176(4):2064-8.

Cutting edge: influence of the TCR Vbeta domain on the selection of semi-invariant NKT cells by endogenous ligands.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Epalinges, Switzerland.


Invariant Valpha14 (Valpha14i) NKT cells are a murine CD1d-dependent regulatory T cell subset characterized by a Valpha14-Jalpha18 rearrangement and expression of mostly Vbeta8.2 and Vbeta7. Whereas the TCR Vbeta domain influences the binding avidity of the Valpha14i TCR for CD1d-alpha-galactosylceramide complexes, with Vbeta8.2 conferring higher avidity binding than Vbeta7, a possible impact of the TCR Vbeta domain on Valpha14i NKT cell selection by endogenous ligands has not been studied. In this study, we show that thymic selection of Vbeta7(+), but not Vbeta8.2(+), Valpha14i NKT cells is favored in situations where endogenous ligand concentration or TCRalpha-chain avidity are suboptimal. Furthermore, thymic Vbeta7(+) Valpha14i NKT cells were preferentially selected in vitro in response to CD1d-dependent presentation of endogenous ligands or exogenously added self ligand isoglobotrihexosylceramide. Collectively, our data demonstrate that the TCR Vbeta domain influences the selection of Valpha14i NKT cells by endogenous ligands, presumably because Vbeta7 confers higher avidity binding.

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