Identification of CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative natural killer T cell precursors in the thymus.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: It is well known that CD1d-restricted Valpha14 invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells are derived from cells in the CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) population in the thymus. However, the developmental progression of NKT cells in the earlier stages remains unclear, and the possible existence of NKT cell presursors in the earlier stages than DP stage remains to be tested. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we demonstrate that NKT cell precursors that express invariant Valpha14-Jalpha18 transcripts but devoid of surface expression of the invariant Valpha14 receptor are present in the late CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative (DN)4 stage and have the potential to generate mature NKT cells in both in vivo and in vitro experimental conditions. Moreover, the DN4 population in CD1d knock-out (CD1dKO) mice was similar to those with an NKT cell potential in wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 (B6) mice, but failed to develop into NKT cells in vitro. However, these precursors could develop into NKT cells when co-cultured with normal thymocytes or in an in vivo experimental setting, indicating that functional NKT cell precursors are present in CD1dKO mice. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these results demonstrate that thymic DN4 fraction contains NKT cell precursors. Our findings provide new insights into the early development of NKT cells prior to surface expression of the invariant Valpha14 antigen receptor and suggest the possible alternative developmental pathway of NKT cells.
Project description:Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) produces acute mucocutaneous infections, spread to sensory ganglia, and establishment of latency. In addition, neurovirulent strains have potential to invade the central nervous system (CNS), with potentially a lethal outcome. Early activation of defenses at all stages is essential to limit virus load and reduce the risk of neuronal damage, extensive zosteriform skin lesions, and catastrophic spread to the CNS. NKT cells respond rapidly, and we have shown previously that CD1d-deficient mice are compromised in controlling a neuroinvasive isolate of HSV-1. We now compare infection in Jalpha18 GKO and CD1d GKO mice, allowing direct assessment of the importance of invariant Valpha14(+) NKT cells and deduction of the role of the CD1d-restricted NKT cells with diverse T-cell receptors. The results indicate that both subsets of NKT cells contribute to virus control both in the afferent phase of infection and in determining the mortality, neuroinvasion, loss of sensory neurons, size of zosteriform, lesions and levels of latency. In particular, both are crucial determinants of clinical outcome, providing protection equivalent to a 1-log dose of virus. These NKT cells can be expected to provide protection at doses of virus that might be encountered naturally.
Project description:A form of alpha-galactosylceramide, KRN7000, activates CD1d-restricted Valpha14-invariant (Valpha14i) natural killer (NK) T cells and initiates multiple downstream immune reactions. We report that substituting the C26:0 N-acyl chain of KRN7000 with shorter, unsaturated fatty acids modifies the outcome of Valpha14i NKT cell activation. One analogue containing a diunsaturated C20 fatty acid (C20:2) potently induced a T helper type 2-biased cytokine response, with diminished IFN-gamma production and reduced Valpha14i NKT cell expansion. C20:2 also exhibited less stringent requirements for loading onto CD1d than KRN7000, suggesting a mechanism for the immunomodulatory properties of this lipid. The differential cellular response elicited by this class of Valpha14i NKT cell agonists may prove to be useful in immunotherapeutic applications.
Project description:NK1.1(+) TCRalphabeta(int) CD1-restricted T (NKT) cells are a unique subset of T lymphocytes that are believed to have an immunoregulatory role in a wide range of diseases. Most mouse NKT cells express a T-cell receptor that contains an invariant Valpha14Jalpha18 chain and recognizes antigenic glycolipids presented in association with major histocompatibility complex class Ib (CD1d) molecules. These invariant NKT (iNKT) cells have been implicated in cholestatic liver injury.We examined the role of iNKT cells in liver injury associated with biliary obstruction in mice with ligations of the common bile duct.The number of activated iNKT cells increased markedly in the livers of mice following bile duct ligation. Plasma alanine aminotransferase levels, an indicator of liver injury, were significantly higher in iNKT cell-deficient (Jalpha18(-/-)) mice compared with wild-type mice following bile duct ligation. Photo image analysis of histologic sections confirmed that more damage was present in the livers of Jalpha18(-/-) mice; liver damage correlated with increases in keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC) and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2) production as well as neutrophil sequestration. Liver injury was significantly reduced in Jalpha18(-/-) mice treated with anti-KC and anti-MIP-2 or rendered neutrophil deficient before bile duct ligation. Similarly, Jalpha18(-/-) mice that were injected with iNKT cells before bile duct ligation exhibited significant decreases in neutrophil accumulation and liver damage.These data document the role of iNKT cells in suppressing the neutrophil proinflammatory response and neutrophil-dependent cholestatic liver damage.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) T cells with an invariant Valpha14 rearrangement (Valpha14i) are the largest population of lipid antigen-specific T lymphocytes identified in animals. They react to the glycolipid alpha-galactosyl ceramide (alpha-GalCer) presented by CD1d, and they may have important regulatory functions. It was previously shown that the Valpha14i T cell antigen receptor (TCR) has a high affinity for the alpha-GalCer/CD1d complex, driven by a long half-life (t(1/2)). Although this result could have reflected the unique attributes of alpha-GalCer, using several related glycolipid compounds, we show here that the threshold for full activation of Valpha14i NKT cells by these glycosphingolipids requires a relatively high-affinity TCR interaction with a long t(1/2). Furthermore, our data are consistent with the view that the mechanism of recognition of these compounds presented by CD1d to the Valpha14i NKT cell TCR is likely to fit a lock-and-key model. Overall, these findings emphasize the distinct properties of glycosphingolipid antigen recognition by Valpha14i NKT cells.
Project description:Type I invariant NKT cells (iNKT cells) are a subset of alphabeta T cells characterized by the expression of an invariant alpha-chain variable region 14-alpha-chain joining region 18 (V(alpha)14J(alpha)18) T cell antigen receptor (TCR) alpha-chain. The iNKT cells derive from CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) thymocytes, and their generation requires a long half-life of DP thymocytes to allow V(alpha)14-J(alpha)18 rearrangements, expression of glycolipid-loaded CD1d on DP thymocytes, and signaling through the signaling-activation molecule SLAM-adaptor SAP pathway. Here we show that the transcription factor c-Myb has a central role in priming DP thymocytes to enter the iNKT lineage by simultaneously regulating CD1d expression, the half-life of DP cells and expression of SLAMF1, SLAMF6 and SAP.
Project description:Invariant human TCR Valpha24-Jalpha18+/Vbeta11+ NKT cells (iNKT) are restricted by CD1d-alpha-glycosylceramides. We analyzed crystal structures and binding characteristics for an iNKT TCR plus two CD1d-alpha-GalCer-specific Vbeta11+ TCRs that use different TCR Valpha chains. The results were similar to those previously reported for MHC-peptide-specific TCRs, illustrating the versatility of the TCR platform. Docking TCR and CD1d-alpha-GalCer structures provided plausible insights into their interaction. The model supports a diagonal orientation of TCR on CD1d and suggests that complementarity determining region (CDR)3alpha, CDR3beta, and CDR1beta interact with ligands presented by CD1d, whereas CDR2beta binds to the CD1d alpha1 helix. This docking provides an explanation for the dominant usage of Vbeta11 and Vbeta8.2 chains by human and mouse iNKT cells, respectively, for recognition of CD1d-alpha-GalCer.
Project description:The semi-invariant Valpha14Jalpha18 T cell receptor (TCR) is expressed by regulatory NKT cells and has the unique ability to recognize chemically diverse ligands presented by CD1d. The crystal structure of CD1d complexed to a natural, endogenous ligand, isoglobotrihexosylceramide (iGb3), illustrates the extent of this diversity when compared to the binding of potent, exogenous ligands, such as alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer). A single mode of recognition for these two classes of ligands would then appear problematic for a single T cell receptor. However, the Valpha14 TCR adopts two different conformations in the crystal where, in one configuration, the presence of a larger cavity between the two CDR3 regions could accommodate iGb3 and, in the other, a smaller cavity fits alpha-GalCer more snugly. Alternatively, the extended iGb3 headgroup could be "squashed" upon docking of the TCR and accommodated between the CD1 and TCR surfaces. Thus, the same TCR may adopt alternative modes of recognition for these foreign and self-ligands for NKT cell activation.
Project description:Natural killer T (NKT) cells play a pivotal role in maintaining immune homostasis. They recognize lipid antigen in the context of CD1d molecules and subsequently produce cytokines that activate cells of both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Many studies examining patients with autoimmune disease or cancer have shown that there is a reduction in both NKT cell number and function. Due to the complexities of manipulating NKT cells in vivo, ex vivo expanded effector NKT cells would be an excellent therapeutic modality. To date, immunotherapy utilizing the NKT/CD1d system has been dependent on the use of autologous DC in the presence or absence of a synthetic glycolipid, alpha-galactocylceramide. Here we report a novel technique that facilitates the growth and analysis of NKT cells through the use of CD1d-expressing aAPC. CD1d-based aAPC can effectively propagate both canonical (iNKT cells) and noncanonical (Valpha14(-)) NKT cells. Importantly, CD1d-Ig aAPC can expand NKT cells from cancer patients. Thus, CD1d-expressing aAPC will enhance our knowledge of NKT cell biology and could potentially be used as a novel tool in adoptive immunotherapeutic strategies.
Project description:The Niemann-Pick type C2 (NPC2) protein is a small, soluble, lysosomal protein important for cholesterol and sphingolipid transport in the lysosome. The immunological phenotype of NPC2-deficient mice was limited to an impaired thymic selection of Valpha14 natural killer T cells (NKT cells) and a subsequent reduction of NKT cells in the periphery. The remaining NKT cells failed to produce measurable quantities of interferon-gamma in vivo and in vitro after activation with alpha-galactosylceramide. In addition, thymocytes and splenocytes from NPC2-deficient mice were poor presenters of endogenous and exogenous lipids to CD1d-restricted Valpha14 hybridoma cells. Importantly, we determined that similar to saposins, recombinant NPC2 was able to unload lipids from and load lipids into CD1d. This transfer activity was associated with a dimeric form of NPC2, suggesting a unique mechanism of glycosphingolipid transfer by NPC2. Similar to saposin B, NPC2 dimers were able to load isoglobotrihexosylceramide (iGb3), the natural selecting ligand of NKT cells in the thymus, into CD1d. These observations strongly suggested that the phenotype observed in NPC2-deficient animals was directly linked to the efficiency of the loading of iGb3 into CD1d molecules expressed by thymocytes. This conclusion was supported by the rescue of endogenous and exogenous iGb3 presentation by recombinant NPC2. Thus, the loading of endogenous and exogenous lipids and glycolipids onto CD1d is dependent on various small, soluble lipid transfer proteins present in the lysosome.
Project description:The innate immune response is supposed to play an essential role in the control of amebic liver abscess (ALA), a severe form of invasive amoebiasis due to infection with the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica. In a mouse model for the disease, we previously demonstrated that Jalpha18(-/-) mice, lacking invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, suffer from more severe abscess development. Here we show that the specific activation of iNKT cells using alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) induces a significant reduction in the sizes of ALA lesions, whereas CD1d(-/-) mice develop more severe abscesses. We identified a lipopeptidophosphoglycan from E. histolytica membranes (EhLPPG) as a possible natural NKT cell ligand and show that the purified phosphoinositol (PI) moiety of this molecule induces protective IFN-gamma but not IL-4 production in NKT cells. The main component of EhLPPG responsible for NKT cell activation is a diacylated PI, (1-O-[(28:0)-lyso-glycero-3-phosphatidyl-]2-O-(C16:0)-Ins). IFN-gamma production by NKT cells requires the presence of CD1d and simultaneously TLR receptor signalling through MyD88 and secretion of IL-12. Similar to alpha-GalCer application, EhLPPG treatment significantly reduces the severity of ALA in ameba-infected mice. Our results suggest that EhLPPG is an amebic molecule that is important for the limitation of ALA development and may explain why the majority of E. histolytica-infected individuals do not develop amebic liver abscess.