The interaction between the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) expressed by natural killer T cells (NKT cells) and the antigen-presenting molecule CD1d is distinct from interactions between the TCR and major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Our molecular modeling suggested that a hydrophobic patch created after TCRα-TCRβ pairing has a role in maintaining the conformation of the NKT cell TCR. Disruption of this patch ablated recognition of CD1d by the NKT cell TCR but not interactions of the TCR with MHC. Partial disruption of the patch, while permissive to the recognition of CD1d, significantly altered NKT cell development, which resulted in the selective accumulation of adipose-tissue-resident NKT cells. These results indicate that a key component of the TCR is essential for the development of a distinct population of NKT cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy