NKT cells recognize lipid Ags presented by a class I MHC-like molecule CD1d, a member of the CD1 family. Although most initial studies on NKT cells focused on a subset with semi-invariant TCR termed invariant NKT cells, the majority of CD1d-restricted lipid-reactive human T cells express diverse TCRs and are termed type II NKT cells. These cells constitute a distinct population of circulating and tissue-resident effector T cells with immune-regulatory properties. They react to a growing list of self- as well as non–self-lipid ligands, and share some properties with both invariant NKT and conventional T cells. An emerging body of evidence points to their role in the regulation of immunity to pathogens/tumors and in autoimmune/metabolic disorders. An improved understanding of the biology of these cells and the ability to manipulate their function may be of therapeutic benefit in diverse disease conditions.
This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01 CA100660 and R01 AA020864 to V.K. and CA106802 and CA197603 to M.V.D.).
Abbreviations used in this article:
- dendritic cell
- experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
- Gaucher disease
- invariant NKT cell
- plasmacytoid DC.
- Received August 11, 2016.
- Accepted November 11, 2016.
- Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.