Production of the Semi-Invariant TCR and PLZF Function in Innate Programming of iNKT Cells

Damian Kovalovsky, Derek B. Sant'Angelo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Natural killer T (NKT) cells are endowed with phenotypic and functional characteristics that place them at the boundary between adaptive and innate immune responses. One subset, known as invariant NKT (iNKT) cells, expresses an invariant T cell recptor α (TCRα) chain paired with a limited number of TCRβ chains. This TCR recognizes lipids presented by the nonclassical MHC I-like molecule CD1d. Although iNKT cells are thought to arise from the same thymic precursors as conventional T cells, iNKT selection by interaction with DP thymocytes triggers a unique differentiation pathway associated with intrathymic proliferation and the acquisition of innate effector functions. Critical elements that are required for the differentiation of NKT cells but not conventional T cells have been identified. However, other unique signals that guide development of the NKT lineage remain to be elucidated. In this article we summarize our current understanding of the development of NKT cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopment and Phylogeny of the Immune System
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780080921525
StatePublished - Apr 27 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


  • CD1d
  • Development
  • Glycolipid
  • Innate-like
  • Invariant
  • NKT
  • PLZF
  • Selection
  • T cell
  • TCR
  • Thymus


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