Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Exp Med. 1998 Oct 19;188(8):1529-34.

CD1d-restricted recognition of synthetic glycolipid antigens by human natural killer T cells.

Author information

  • 1Lymphocyte Biology Section, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


A conserved subset of mature circulating T cells in humans expresses an invariant Valpha24-JalphaQ T cell receptor (TCR)-alpha chain rearrangement and several natural killer (NK) locus-encoded C-type lectins. These human T cells appear to be precise homologues of the subset of NK1.1(+) TCR-alpha/beta+ T cells, often referred to as NK T cells, which was initially identified in mice. Here we show that human NK T cell clones are strongly and specifically activated by the same synthetic glycolipid antigens as have been shown recently to stimulate murine NK T cells. Responses of human NK T cells to these synthetic glycolipids, consisting of certain alpha-anomeric sugars conjugated to an acylated phytosphingosine base, required presentation by antigen-presenting cells expressing the major histocompatibility complex class I-like CD1d protein. Presentation of synthetic glycolipid antigens to human NK T cells required internalization of the glycolipids by the antigen-presenting cell and normal endosomal targeting of CD1d. Recognition of these compounds by human NK T cells triggered proliferation, cytokine release, and cytotoxic activity. These results demonstrate a striking parallel in the specificity of NK T cells in humans and mice, thus providing further insight into the potential mechanisms of immune recognition by NK T cells and the immunological function of this unique T cell subset.

[PubMed - 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 ...
    Write to the Help Desk