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BMB Rep. 2014 May;47(5):241-8.

The effect of intracellular trafficking of CD1d on the formation of TCR repertoire of NKT cells.

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Department of Life Sciences, Korea University, Seoul 136-701, Korea.


CD1 molecules belong to non-polymorphic MHC class I-like proteins and present lipid antigens to T cells. Five different CD1 genes (CD1a-e) have been identified and classified into two groups. Group 1 include CD1a-c and present pathogenic lipid antigens to αβ T cells reminiscence of peptide antigen presentation by MHC-I molecules. CD1d is the only member of Group 2 and presents foreign and self lipid antigens to a specialized subset of αβ T cells, NKT cells. NKT cells are involved in diverse immune responses through prompt and massive production of cytokines. CD1d-dependent NKT cells are categorized upon the usage of their T cell receptors. A major subtype of NKT cells (type I) is invariant NKT cells which utilize invariant Vα14-Jα18 TCR alpha chain in mouse. The remaining NKT cells (type II) utilize diverse TCR alpha chains. Engineered CD1d molecules with modified intracellular trafficking produce either type I or type II NKT cell-defects suggesting the lipid antigens for each subtypes of NKT cells are processed/generated in different intracellular compartments. Since the usage of TCR by a T cell is the result of antigen-driven selection, the intracellular metabolic pathways of lipid antigen are a key in forming the functional NKT cell repertoire.

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