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Antibodies 2014, 3(1), 16-36; doi:10.3390/antib3010016

Invariant Natural Killer T Cells

Divisions of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Received: 8 November 2013 / Revised: 13 December 2013 / Accepted: 18 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Killer (NK) Cells)
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Invariant Natural killer T cell (iNKT cells) are a subset of T cells, which are narrowly defined as a T cell lineage expressing a semi-invariant CD1d-restricted T cell Receptors (TCRs) composed by Vα24-Jα18/Vβ11 in human, and Vα14-Jα18/Vβ8,Vβ7, and Vβ2 in mouse. Unlike conventional T cells which recognize peptides bound to highly polymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II molecules, iNKT cells recognize lipid antigens, such as glycolipids, presented by CD1d, a non-polymorphic non-classical MHC class I molecule. Lipids derived from microbes, tumors, and allergens, as well as self lipids have been shown to be able to activate iNKT cells. Early on, in an immune response, ligation of the iNKT cell TCR leads to rapid and copious secretion of prototypical Th1 and Th2 cytokines. Moreover, like NK cells, iNKT cells express cytotoxic granules, such as perforin and granzyme that polarize upon activation of TCR and are able to kill target cells. Therefore iNKT cells are a very interesting subset of T cells that may bridge the innate and adaptive immune systems. Indeed, iNKT cells can mount specific responses to antigen with cytokine production and cytotoxic activity, however, their TCR evolved to recognize different glycolipid antigens in a conserved manner and to perform innate-like rather than adaptive functions. iNKT cells are now recognized as important players in atopic, autoimmune, infectious diseases, and cancer. View Full-Text
Keywords: invariant Natural killer cells; iNKT cells; immunology; cytokines; lipids; sphingolipids; CD1D; allergy; autoimmunity; infectious diseases; cancer invariant Natural killer cells; iNKT cells; immunology; cytokines; lipids; sphingolipids; CD1D; allergy; autoimmunity; infectious diseases; cancer
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Cianferoni, A. Invariant Natural Killer T Cells. Antibodies 2014, 3, 16-36.

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