NKT cell ligand recognition logic: molecular basis for a synaptic duet and transmission of inflammatory effectors.

Joyce S, Girardi E, Zajonc DM
J Immunol. 2011 187 (3): 1081-9

PMID: 21772035 · PMCID: PMC3166221 · DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1001910

NKT cells that express the semi-invariant TCR are innate-like lymphocytes whose functions are regulated by self and foreign glycolipid ligands presented by the Ag-presenting, MHC class I-like molecule CD1d. Activation of NKT cells in vivo results in rapid release of copious amounts of effector cytokines and chemokines with which they regulate innate and adaptive immune responses to pathogens, certain types of cancers, and self-antigens. The nature of CD1d-restricted ligands, the manner in which they are recognized, and the unique effector functions of NKT cells suggest an immunoregulatory role for this T cell subset. Their ability to respond fast and our ability to steer NKT cell cytokine response to altered lipid ligands make them an important target for vaccine design and immunotherapies against autoimmune diseases. This review summarizes our current understanding of CD1d-restricted ligand recognition by NKT cells and how these innate-like lymphocytes regulate inflammation.

MeSH Terms (11)

Animals Antigen Presentation Galactosylceramides Glycolipids Humans Immunological Synapses Inflammation Inflammation Mediators Ligands Lipid Metabolism Natural Killer T-Cells

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