Send to

Choose Destination
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Apr;1253:68-79. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06435.x. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Interplay between carbohydrate and lipid in recognition of glycolipid antigens by natural killer T cells.

Author information

Division of Developmental Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, California, USA


Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a T cell subpopulation that were named originally based on coexpression of receptors found on natural killer (NK) cells, cells of the innate immune system, and by T lymphocytes. The maturation and activation of NKT cells requires presentation of glycolipid antigens by CD1d, a cell surface protein distantly related to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-encoded antigen presenting molecules. This specificity distinguishes NKT cells from most CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells that recognize peptides presented by MHC class I and class II molecules. The rapid secretion of a large amount of both Th1 and Th2 cytokines by activated NKT cells endows them with the ability to play a vital role in the host immune defense against various microbial infections. In this review, we summarize progress on identifying the sources of microbe-derived glycolipid antigens recognized by NKT cells and the biochemical basis for their recognition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

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