Distinct gene expression patterns correlate with developmental and functional traits of iNKT subsets

Nat Commun. 2016 Oct 10;7:13116. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13116.


Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells comprise a subpopulation of innate lymphocytes developing in thymus. A new model proposes subdividing murine iNKT cells into iNKT1, 2 and 17 cells. Here, we use transcriptome analyses of iNKT1, 2 and 17 subsets isolated from BALB/c and C57BL/6 thymi to identify candidate genes that may affect iNKT cell development, migration or function. We show that Fcɛr1γ is involved in generation of iNKT1 cells and that SerpinB1 modulates frequency of iNKT17 cells. Moreover, a considerable proportion of iNKT17 cells express IL-4 and IL-17 simultaneously. The results presented not only validate the usefulness of the iNKT1/2/17-concept but also provide new insights into iNKT cell biology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Movement
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Lung / cytology
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / cytology
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism
  • Serpins / deficiency
  • Serpins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Serpinb1a protein, mouse
  • Serpins