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Biomed J. 2015 Dec;38(6):470-83. doi: 10.1016/j.bj.2016.01.003. Epub 2016 Mar 10.

Antigen specificity of invariant natural killer T-cells.

Author information

1
Division of Developmental Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, USA; Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, USA.
2
Division of Developmental Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, USA; Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, USA. Electronic address: mitch@lji.org.

Abstract

Natural killer T-cells, with an invariant T-cell antigen receptor α-chain (iNKT cells), are unique and conserved subset of lymphocytes capable of altering the immune system through their rapid and potent cytokine responses. They are reactive to lipid antigens presented by the CD1d molecule, an antigen-presenting molecule that is not highly polymorphic. iNKT cell responses frequently involve mixtures of cytokines that work against each other, and therefore attempts are underway to develop synthetic antigens that elicit only strong interferon-gamma (IFNγ) or only strong interleukin-4 responses but not both. Strong IFNγ responses may correlate with tighter binding to CD1d and prolonged stimulation of iNKT cells, and this may be useful for vaccine adjuvants and for stimulating anti-tumor responses. iNKT cells are self-reactive although the structure of the endogenous antigen is controversial. By contrast, bacterial and fungal lipids that engage the T-cell receptor and activate IFNγ from iNKT cells have been identified from both pathogenic and commensal organisms and the responses are in some cases highly protective from pathogens in mice. It is possible that the expanding knowledge of iNKT cell antigens and iNKT cell activation will provide the basis for therapies for patients suffering from infectious and immune diseases and cancer.

KEYWORDS:

Glycolipid; Immune system; Natural killer T-cells

PMID:
27013447
PMCID:
PMC6138764
DOI:
10.1016/j.bj.2016.01.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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