Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Immunol. 2011 Sep 1;187(5):2079-83. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1101636. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Cutting edge: structural basis for the recognition of β-linked glycolipid antigens by invariant NKT cells.

Author information

Division of Cell Biology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells expressing a semi-invariant Vα14 TCR recognize self and foreign lipid Ags when presented by the nonclassical MHCI homolog CD1d. Whereas the majority of known iNKT cell Ags are characterized by the presence of a single α-linked sugar, mammalian self Ags are β-linked glycosphingolipids, posing the interesting question of how the semi-invariant TCR can bind to such structurally distinct ligands. In this study, we show that the mouse iNKT TCR recognizes the complex β-linked Ag isoglobotrihexosylceramide (iGb3; Galα1-3-Galβ1-4-Glcβ1-1Cer) by forcing the proximal β-linked sugar of the trisaccharide head group to adopt the typical binding orientation of α-linked glycolipids. The squashed iGb3 orientation is stabilized by several interactions between the trisaccharide and CD1d residues. Finally, the formation of novel contacts between the proximal and second sugar of iGb3 and CDR2α residues of the TCR suggests an expanded recognition logic that can possibly distinguish foreign Ags from self Ags.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center