Recognition of CD1d-restricted antigens by natural killer T cells

Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Dec;12(12):845-57. doi: 10.1038/nri3328. Epub 2012 Nov 16.


Natural killer T (NKT) cells are innate-like T cells that rapidly produce a variety of cytokines following T cell receptor (TCR) activation and can shape the immune response in many different settings. There are two main NKT cell subsets: type I NKT cells are typically characterized by the expression of a semi-invariant TCR, whereas the TCRs expressed by type II NKT cells are more diverse. This Review focuses on the defining features and emerging generalities regarding how NKT cells specifically recognize self, microbial and synthetic lipid-based antigens that are presented by CD1d. Such information is vitally important to better understand, and fully harness, the therapeutic potential of NKT cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Antigens, CD1d / immunology*
  • Autoantigens / immunology
  • Autoimmunity
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Antigens, CD1d
  • Autoantigens
  • Vaccines, Synthetic