During infection and autoimmune disease, activation and expansion of T cells take place. Consequently, the TCR repertoire contains information about ongoing and past diseases. Analysis and interpretation of the human TCR repertoire are hampered by its size and stochastic variation and by the diversity of Ags and Ag-presenting molecules encoded by the MHC, but are highly desirable and would greatly impact fundamental and clinical immunology. A subset of the TCR repertoire is formed by invariant T cells. Invariant T cells express interdonor-conserved TCRs and recognize a limited set of Ags, presented by nonpolymorphic Ag-presenting molecules. Discovery of the three known invariant T cell populations has been a tedious and slow process, identifying them one by one. Because conservation of the TCR ?-chain of invariant T cells is much higher than the ?-chain, and because the TCR ?-chain V gene segment TRAV1-2 is used by two of the three known invariant TCRs, we employed next-generation sequencing of TCR ?-chains that contain the TRAV1-2 gene segment to identify 16 invariant TCRs shared among many blood donors. Frequency analysis of individual clones indicates these T cells are expanded in many donors, implying an important role in human immunity. This approach extends the number of known interdonor-conserved TCRs and suggests that many more exist and that these TCR patterns can be used to systematically evaluate human Ag exposure.
Lipids from mycobacteria can be presented to human T cells by group 1 CD1 Ag-presenting molecules (CD1a, CD1b, and CD1c). Group 1 CD1-restricted T cells are activated by lipid Ags presented by myeloid dendritic cells (DCs), after which they generate antibacterial effector functions, including IFN-? secretion and cytolysis. Thus, mycobacterial lipids are being investigated as components of novel vaccines for mycobacterial infections. In this study we show that the mycobacterial lipid Ag C80 glucose-6-monomycolate can be delivered to human CD1b(+) DCs via targeted liposomal nanoparticles, leading to robust group 1 CD1-restricted activation of T cells. Targeting was achieved by decorating the liposomes with a high-affinity glycan ligand of sialic acid-binding Ig-like lectin (Siglec)-7, a siglec receptor expressed on DCs that mediates rapid endocytosis and transport of its cargo to lysosomes. An Ab to Siglec-7 completely blocked the binding of targeted liposomes to human monocyte-derived DCs (Mo-DCs), demonstrating their targeting specificity. Mo-DCs pulsed with targeted liposomes containing C80 glucose-6-monomycolate more potently activated a CD1b-restricted T cell line relative to Mo-DCs pulsed with free lipid Ag or antigenic liposomes without Siglec-7 ligand. These data suggest that the endocytic function of Siglec-7 can be exploited to deliver glycolipid Ags to their target cell and increase the efficiency of display to T cells.
Current views emphasize TCR diversity as a key feature that differentiates the group 1 (CD1a, CD1b, CD1c) and group 2 (CD1d) CD1 systems. Whereas TCR sequence motifs define CD1d-reactive NKT cells, the available data do not allow a TCR-based organization of the group 1 CD1 repertoire. The observed TCR diversity might result from donor-to-donor differences in TCR repertoire, as seen for MHC-restricted T cells. Alternatively, diversity might result from differing CD1 isoforms, Ags, and methods used to identify TCRs. Using CD1b tetramers to isolate clones recognizing the same glycolipid, we identified a previously unknown pattern of V gene usage (TRAV17, TRBV4-1) among unrelated human subjects. These TCRs are distinct from those present on NKT cells and germline-encoded mycolyl lipid-reactive T cells. Instead, they resemble the TCR of LDN5, one of the first known CD1b-reactive clones that was previously thought to illustrate the diversity of the TCR repertoire. Interdonor TCR conservation was observed in vitro and ex vivo, identifying LDN5-like T cells as a distinct T cell type. These data support TCR-based organization of the CD1b repertoire, which consists of at least two compartments that differ in TCR sequence motifs, affinity, and coreceptor expression.
Human CD1a mediates foreign Ag recognition by a T cell clone, but the nature of possible TCR interactions with CD1a/lipid are unknown. After incubating CD1a with a mycobacterial lipopeptide Ag, dideoxymycobactin (DDM), we identified and measured binding to a recombinant TCR (TRAV3/ TRBV3-1, KD of ?100 ?M). Detection of ternary CD1a/lipid/TCR interactions enabled development of CD1a tetramers and CD1a multimers with carbohydrate backbones (dextramers), which specifically stained T cells using a mechanism that was dependent on the precise stereochemistry of the peptide backbone and was blocked with a soluble TCR. Furthermore, sorting of human T cells from unrelated tuberculosis patients for bright DDM-dextramer staining allowed recovery of T cells that were activated by CD1a and DDM. These studies demonstrate that the mechanism of T cell activation by lipopeptides occurs via ternary interactions of CD1a/Ag/TCR. Furthermore, these studies demonstrate the existence of lipopeptide-specific T cells in humans ex vivo.
T cells autoreactive to the antigen-presenting molecule CD1a are common in human blood and skin, but the search for natural autoantigens has been confounded by background T cell responses to CD1 proteins and self lipids. After capturing CD1a-lipid complexes, we gently eluted ligands while preserving non-ligand-bound CD1a for testing lipids from tissues. CD1a released hundreds of ligands of two types. Inhibitory ligands were ubiquitous membrane lipids with polar head groups, whereas stimulatory compounds were apolar oils. We identified squalene and wax esters, which naturally accumulate in epidermis and sebum, as autoantigens presented by CD1a. The activation of T cells by skin oils suggested that headless mini-antigens nest within CD1a and displace non-antigenic resident lipids with large head groups. Oily autoantigens naturally coat the surface of the skin; thus, this points to a previously unknown mechanism of barrier immunity.
Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are an evolutionarily conserved ?? T-cell lineage that express a semi-invariant T-cell receptor (TCR) restricted to the MHC related-1 (MR1) protein. MAIT cells are dependent upon MR1 expression and exposure to microbes for their development and stimulation, yet these cells can exhibit microbial-independent stimulation when responding to MR1 from different species. We have used this microbial-independent, cross-species reactivity of MAIT cells to define the molecular basis of MAIT-TCR/MR1 engagement and present here a 2.85 Å complex structure of a human MAIT-TCR bound to bovine MR1. The MR1 binding groove is similar in backbone structure to classical peptide-presenting MHC class I molecules (MHCp), yet is partially occluded by large aromatic residues that form cavities suitable for small ligand presentation. The docking of the MAIT-TCR on MR1 is perpendicular to the MR1 surface and straddles the MR1 ?1 and ?2 helices, similar to classical ?? TCR engagement of MHCp. However, the MAIT-TCR contacts are dominated by the ?-chain, focused on the MR1 ?2 helix. TCR ?-chain contacts are mostly through the variable CDR3? loop that is positioned proximal to the CDR3? loop directly over the MR1 open groove. The elucidation of the MAIT TCR/MR1 complex structure explains how the semi-invariant MAIT-TCR engages the nonpolymorphic MR1 protein, and sheds light onto ligand discrimination by this cell type. Importantly, this structure also provides a critical link in our understanding of the evolution of ?? T-cell recognition of MHC and MHC-like ligands.
The CD1 system is composed of five types of human CD1 proteins, CD1a, CD1b, CD1c, CD1d, and CD1e, and their mammalian orthologs. Each type of CD1 protein has a distinct antigen binding groove and shows differing patterns of expression within cells and in different tissues. Here we review the molecular mechanisms by which CD1a, CD1b, and CD1c capture distinct classes of self- and mycobacterial antigens. We discuss how CD1-restricted T cells participate in the immune response, emphasizing new evidence for mycobacterial recognition in vivo in human and non-human models.
Human T cell antigen receptors (TCRs) pair in millions of combinations to create complex and unique T cell repertoires for each person. Through the use of tetramers to analyze TCRs reactive to the antigen-presenting molecule CD1b, we detected T cells with highly stereotyped TCR ?-chains present among genetically unrelated patients with tuberculosis. The germline-encoded, mycolyl lipid-reactive (GEM) TCRs had an ?-chain bearing the variable (V) region TRAV1-2 rearranged to the joining (J) region TRAJ9 with few nontemplated (N)-region additions. Analysis of TCRs by high-throughput sequencing, binding and crystallography showed linkage of TCR? sequence motifs to high-affinity recognition of antigen. Thus, the CD1-reactive TCR repertoire is composed of at least two compartments: high-affinity GEM TCRs, and more-diverse TCRs with low affinity for CD1b-lipid complexes. We found high interdonor conservation of TCRs that probably resulted from selection by a nonpolymorphic antigen-presenting molecule and an immunodominant antigen.
In most species, ?? T cells preferentially reside in epithelial tissues like the skin. Lymph duct cannulation experiments in cattle revealed that bovine dermal ?? T cells are able to migrate from the skin to the draining lymph nodes via the afferent lymph. For ?? T cells, it is generally accepted that epithelial and mucosal tissue egress is regulated by expression of the CCR7 chemokine receptor. In this study, we tracked the migratory route of bovine lymph-derived ?? T cells and examined their CCR7 cell surface expression in several compartments along this route. Total lymph cells from afferent and efferent origin were labeled with PKH fluorescent dyes and injected into the bloodstream. PKH(+) cells already reappeared in the afferent lymph after 4 h. The vast majority of the PKH(+) cells retrieved from the afferent lymph were of the WC1(+) ?? T cell phenotype, proving that this PKH(+) ?? T cell subset is able to home to and subsequently exit the skin. PKH(+) ?? T cells from afferent and efferent lymph lack CCR7 surface expression and display high levels of CD62L compared with CD4 T cells, which do express CCR7. Skin homing receptors CCR4 and CCR10 in contrast were transcribed by both CD4 and ?? T cells. Our findings suggest that ?? T cell skin egress and migration into the peripheral lymphatics is CCR7-independent and possibly mediated by CD62L expression.
Microbial lipids activate T cells by binding directly to CD1 and T cell receptors (TCRs) or by indirect effects on antigen-presenting cells involving induction of lipid autoantigens, CD1 transcription, or cytokine release. To distinguish among direct and indirect mechanisms, we developed fluorescent human CD1b tetramers and measured T cell staining. CD1b tetramer staining of T cells requires glucose monomycolate (GMM) antigens, is specific for TCR structure, and is blocked by a recombinant clonotypic TCR comprised of TRAV17 and TRBV4-1, proving that CD1b-glycolipid complexes bind the TCR. GMM-loaded tetramers brightly stain a small subpopulation of blood-derived cells from humans infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, providing direct detection of a CD1b-reactive T cell repertoire. Polyclonal T cells from patients sorted with tetramers are activated by GMM antigens presented by CD1b. Whereas prior studies emphasized CD8(+) and CD4(-)CD8(-) CD1b-restricted clones, CD1b tetramer-based studies show that nearly all cells express the CD4 co-receptor. These findings prove a cognate mechanism whereby CD1b-glycolipid complexes bind to TCRs. CD1b tetramers detect a natural CD1b-restricted T cell repertoire ex vivo with unexpected features, opening a new investigative path to study the human CD1 system.
Strong anti glycolipid IgG responses can occur in humans and animals, but contrary to anti protein responses and anti glycoprotein responses, the exact mechanism of induction is unknown. We have previously shown that experimental immunization with the glycolipid glucose monomycolate (GMM) causes the development of specific T cell responses, but not of anti GMM antibodies. However, cattle naturally infected with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis produce high levels of anti GMM IgG. In the present study, we tested whether vaccination with GMM conjugated to a protein mimics natural infection in its capacity to induce the production of antibodies against GMM. Cattle were immunized (n=5 per group) with GMM conjugated to a protein, or GMM and protein non-conjugated and administered at contralateral locations, or carrier only. Although immunization with the GMM-protein conjugate vaccine and the non-conjugated vaccine induced protein specific antibody responses, GMM specific antibodies were not detected in either of the groups. In conclusion, the generation of isotype-switched anti lipid antibodies appears to require more than providing peptide epitopes for T helper cells to support glycolipid specific B cells in antibody production.
The CD1 family of Ag-presenting molecules is able to display lipids to T cells by binding them within a hydrophobic groove connected to the protein surface. In particular, the CD1b isotype is capable of binding ligands with greatly varying alkyl chain lengths through a complex network of interconnected hydrophobic pockets. Interestingly, mycobacterial lipids such as glucose monomycolate exclusively bind to CD1b. We determined the crystal structure of one of the three expressed bovine CD1b proteins, CD1b3, in complex with endogenous ligands, identified by mass spectrometry as a mixture of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine, and analyzed the ability of the protein to bind glycolipids in vitro. The structure reveals a complex binding groove architecture, similar to the human ortholog but with consequential differences. Intriguingly, in bovine CD1b3 only the A, C and F pockets are present, whereas the T pocket previously described in human CD1b is closed. This different pocket conformation could affect the ability of boCD1b3 to recognize lipids with long acyl chains such as glucose monomycolate. However, even in the absence of a T tunnel, bovine CD1b3 is able to bind mycolates from Rhodococcus ruber in vitro.
MHC-related protein 1 (MR1) is a highly conserved MHC class I-like molecule. Human and murine mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are restricted by MR1 and express an invariant T cell receptor. Even though MR1 protein expression on the cell surface has not been demonstrated in vivo or ex vivo, it is assumed that MR1 presents a bacterial antigen from the intestinal lumen to MAIT cells because MAIT cells are present in the lamina propria and their expansion is dependent on the presence of intestinal micro flora. The existence of bovine MAIT cells and MR1 has been demonstrated recently although ovine MAIT cells and MR1 have not yet been described. We cloned bovine and ovine MR1 transcripts, including splice variants, and identified an anti human MR1 antibody that recognizes cells transfected with the bovine homolog. Using this antibody, no MR1 staining was detected using cells freshly isolated from blood, thymus, spleen, colon, ileum, and lymph node. MAIT cells are known to be enriched in the CD4/CD8 double negative peripheral blood T cell population, but their relative abundance in different tissues is not known. Comparison of the amount of MAIT cell-specific TCR transcript to the amount of constant alpha chain transcript revealed that numbers of MAIT cells are low in neonates and increase by 3-weeks of age. In 3-month old animals, MAIT cells are abundant in spleen and less so in ileum, peripheral blood, lymph node, colon, and thymus.
CD1 activates T cells, but the function and size of the possible human T cell repertoires that recognize each of the CD1 antigen-presenting molecules remain unknown. Using an experimental system that bypasses major histocompatibility complex (MHC) restriction and the requirement for defined antigens, we show that polyclonal T cells responded at higher rates to cells expressing CD1a than to those expressing CD1b, CD1c or CD1d. Unlike the repertoire of invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells, the CD1a-autoreactive repertoire contained diverse T cell antigen receptors (TCRs). Functionally, many CD1a-autoreactive T cells homed to skin, where they produced interleukin 22 (IL-22) in response to CD1a on Langerhans cells. The strong and frequent responses among genetically diverse donors define CD1a-autoreactive cells as a normal part of the human T cell repertoire and CD1a as a target of the T(H)22 subset of helper T cells.
Although CD1 proteins are known to present mycobacterial lipid antigens to T cells, there is little understanding of the in vivo behavior of T cells restricted by CD1a, CD1b and CD1c, and the relative immunogenicity and immunodominance of individual lipids within the total array of lipids that comprise a bacterium. Because bovines express multiple CD1 proteins and are natural hosts of Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP), we used them as a new animal model of CD1 function. Here, we report the surprisingly divergent responses against lipids produced by these two pathogens during infection. Despite considerable overlap in lipid content, only three out of 69 animals cross-react with M. bovis and MAP total lipid preparations. The unidentified immunodominant compound of M. bovis is a hydrophilic compound, whereas the immunodominant lipid of MAP is presented by CD1b and was identified as glucose monomycolate (GMM). The preferential recognition of GMM antigen by MAP-infected cattle may be explained by the higher expression of GMM by MAP than by M. bovis. The bacterial species-specific nature of the CD1-restricted, adaptive T-cell response affects the approach to development of lipid based immunodiagnostic tests.
Cloning and sequencing of the full length lion and cheetah interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) transcript will enable the expression of the recombinant cytokine, to be used for production of monoclonal antibodies and to set up lion and cheetah-specific IFN-gamma ELISAs. These are relevant in blood-based diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis, an important threat to lions in the Kruger National Park. Alignment of nucleotide and amino acid sequences of lion and cheetah and that of domestic cats showed homologies of 97-100%.
The recent discovery of dideoxymycobactin (DDM) as a ligand for CD1a demonstrates how a nonribosomal lipopeptide antigen is presented to T cells. DDM contains an unusual acylation motif and a peptide sequence present only in mycobacteria, but its discovery raises the possibility that ribosomally produced viral or mammalian proteins that commonly undergo lipidation might also function as antigens. To test this, we measured T cell responses to synthetic acylpeptides that mimic lipoproteins produced by cells and viruses. CD1c presented an N-acyl glycine dodecamer peptide (lipo-12) to human T cells, and the response was specific for the acyl linkage as well as the peptide length and sequence. Thus, CD1c represents the second member of the CD1 family to present lipopeptides. lipo-12 was efficiently recognized when presented by intact cells, and unlike DDM, it was inactivated by proteases and augmented by protease inhibitors. Although lysosomes often promote antigen presentation by CD1, rerouting CD1c to lysosomes by mutating CD1 tail sequences caused reduction in lipo-12 presentation. Thus, although certain antigens require antigen processing in lysosomes, others are destroyed there, providing a hypothesis for the evolutionary conservation of large CD1 families containing isoforms that survey early endosomal pathways.
Alphabeta T cells and gammadelta T cells perform nonoverlapping immune functions. In mammalian species with a high percentage of very diverse gammadelta T cells, like ruminants and pigs, it is often assumed that alphabeta T cells are less diverse than gammadelta T cells. Based on the bovine genome, we have created a map of the bovine TRA/TRD locus and show that, in cattle, in addition to the anticipated >100 TRDV genes, there are also >300 TRAV or TRAV/DV genes. Among the V genes in the TRA/TRD locus, there are several genes that lack a CDR2 and are functionally rearranged and transcribed and, in some cases, have an extended CDR1. The number of bovine V genes is a multiple of the number in mice and humans and may encode T cell receptors that use a novel way of interacting with antigen.
CD1 proteins display lipid antigens to T cell receptors. Studies using CD1d tetramers and CD1d-deficient mice provide important insight into the immunological functions of invariant NK T cells (iNKT) during viral and bacterial infections. However, the mouse CD1 locus is atypical because it encodes only CD1d, whereas most mammalian species have retained many CD1 genes. Viewed from the perspective that CD1 is a diverse gene family that activates several of classes of T cells, new insights into lipid loading and infection response are emerging.
Regulatory T cells (Treg) are regarded essential components for maintenance of immune homeostasis. Especially CD4(+)CD25(high) T cells are considered to be important regulators of immune reactivity. In humans and rodents these natural Treg are characterized by their anergic nature, defined as a non-proliferative state, suppressive function and expression of Foxp3. In this study the potential functional role of flowcytometry-sorted bovine white blood cell populations, including CD4(+)CD25(high) T cells and gammadelta T cell subpopulations, as distinct ex vivo regulatory cells was assessed in co-culture suppression assays. Our findings revealed that despite the existence of a distinct bovine CD4(+)CD25(high) T cell population, which showed Foxp3 transcription/expression, natural regulatory activity did not reside in this cell population. In bovine co-culture suppression assays these cells were neither anergic nor suppressive. Subsequently, the following cell populations were tested functionally for regulatory activity: CD4(+)CD25(low) T cells, WC1(+), WC1.1(+) and WC1.2(+) gammadelta T cells, NK cells, CD8(+) T cells and CD14(+) monocytes. Only the WC1.1(+) and WC1.2(+) gammadelta T cells and CD14(+) monocytes proved to act as regulatory cells in cattle, which was supported by the fact that these regulatory cells showed IL-10 transcription/expression. In conclusion, our data provide first evidence that cattle CD4(+)CD25(high)Foxp3(+) and CD4(+)CD25(low) T cells do not function as Treg ex vivo. The bovine Treg function appears to reside in the gammadelta T cell population, more precisely in the WC1.1(+) and the WC1.2(+) subpopulation, major populations present in blood of cattle in contrast to non-ruminant species.
Glycolipids are presented to T cells by human group 1 CD1 proteins, but are not used as subunit vaccines yet. Experimental immunizations with pure mycobacterial glucose monomycolate (GMM) and keyhole limpet haemocyanin (KLH) in cattle, a species which, unlike mice, expresses group 1 CD1, showed that GMM was equally efficient as KLH in generating T cell responses in blood, but not in the draining lymph node. Also, KLH induced strong antibody responses whereas GMM did not. These data suggest that non-overlapping T cell populations are targeted and demonstrate the potential of glycolipids as a special class of subunit vaccine candidates.
CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T cells (NKT cells) have been well characterized in humans and mice, but it is unknown whether they are present in other species. Here we describe the invariant TCR alpha chain and the full length CD1d transcript of pig and horse. Molecular modeling predicts that porcine (po) invariant TCR alpha chain/poCD1d/alpha-GalCer and equine (eq) invariant TCR alpha chain/eqCD1d/alpha-GalCer form complexes that are highly homologous to the human complex. Since a prerequisite for the presence of NKT cells is the expression of CD1d protein, we performed searches for CD1D genes and CD1d transcripts in multiple species. Previously, cattle and guinea pig have been suggested to lack CD1D genes. The CD1D genes of European taurine cattle (Bos taurus) are known to be pseudogenes because of disrupting mutations in the start codon and in the donor splice site of the first intron. Here we show that the same mutations are found in six other ruminants: African buffalo, sheep, bushbuck, bongo, NDama cattle, and roe deer. In contrast, intact CD1d transcripts were found in guinea pig, African elephant, horse, rabbit, and pig. Despite the discovery of a highly homologous NKT/CD1d system in pig and horse, our data suggest that functional CD1D and CD1d-restricted NKT cells are not universally present in mammals.
Most vaccines and basic studies of T cell epitopes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis emphasize water-soluble proteins that are secreted into the extracellular space and presented in the context of MHC class II. Much less is known about the role of Ags retained within the cell wall. We used polyclonal T cells from infected humans to probe for responses to immunodominant Ags in the M. tuberculosis cell wall. We found that the magnitude of response to secreted or cell wall intrinsic compounds was similar among healthy controls, patients with latent tuberculosis, and patients with active tuberculosis. Individual responses to secreted Ags and cell wall extract were strongly correlated (r(2) = 0.495, p = 0.001), suggesting that T cells responding to cell wall and secreted Ags are present at similar frequency. Surprisingly, T cell stimulatory factors intrinsic to the cell wall partition into organic solvents; however, these responses are not explained by CD1-mediated presentation of lipids. Instead, we find that molecules soluble in organic solvents are dependent upon MHC class II and recognized by IFN-?-secreting CD4(+) T cells. We reasoned that MHC class II-dependent Ags extracting into lipid mixtures might be found among triacylated lipoproteins present in mycobacteria. We used M. tuberculosis lacking prolipoprotein signal peptidase A (lspA), an enzyme required for lipoprotein synthesis, to demonstrate loss of polyclonal T cell responses. Our results demonstrate the use of bacterial genetics to identify lipoproteins as an unexpected and immunodominant class of cell wall-associated Ags targeted by the polyclonal human T cell response to M. tuberculosis.
NKT cells play important roles in immune surveillance. They rapidly respond to pathogens by detecting microbial glycolipids when presented by the non-classical MHC I homolog CD1d. Previously, ruminants were considered to lack NKT cells due to the lack of a functional CD1D gene. However, recent data suggest that cattle express CD1d with unknown function. In an attempt to characterize the function of bovine CD1d, we assessed the lipid binding properties of recombinant Bos taurus CD1d (boCD1d) in vitro. BoCD1d is able to bind glycosphingolipids (GSLs) with fatty acid chain lengths of C??, while GSLs with fatty acids of C?? do not bind. Crystal structures of boCD1d bound to a short-chain C??-di-sulfatide antigen, as well as short-chain C??-?GalCer revealed that the Á pocket of boCD1d is restricted in size compared to that of both mouse and human CD1d, explaining the inability of long chain GSLs to bind to boCD1d. Moreover, while di-sulfatide is presented similarly compared to the presentation of sulfatide by mouse CD1d, ?GalCer is presented differently at the cell surface, due to an amino acid Asp151Asn substitution that results in loss of intimate contacts between the ?GalCer headgroup and CD1d. The altered ?GalCer presentation by boCD1d also explains its lack of cross-activation of mouse iNKT cells and raises the interesting question of the nature and function of bovine lipid-reactive T cells.
Although CD1d and NKT cells have been proposed to have highly conserved functions in mammals, data on functions of CD1d and NKT cells in species other than humans and rodents are lacking. Upon stimulation with the CD1d-presented synthetic antigen ?-galactosylceramide, human and rodent type I invariant NKT cells release large amounts of cytokines. The two bovine CD1D (boCD1D) genes have structural features that suggest that they cannot be translated into functional proteins expressed on the cell surface. Here we provide evidence that despite an intron-exon structure and signal peptide that are different from all other known CD1 genes, boCD1D can be translated into a protein that is expressed on the cell surface. However, in vivo treatment of cattle (Bos taurus) with 0.1, 1, or 10 µg kg?¹ of the most commonly used ?-galactosylceramide, which has a C26 fatty acid, did not lead to an increase in body temperature and serum cytokine levels of the animals. This lack of reactivity is not due to a complete inability of boCD1d to present glycosphingolipids because ?-galactosylceramide variants with shorter fatty acids could be presented by boCD1d to human NKT cells in vitro. This suggests that the natural ligands of boCD1d are smaller lipids.
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