Natural killer T (NKT) cells respond to a variety of CD1d-restricted antigens (Ags), although the basis for Ag discrimination by the NKT cell receptor (TCR) is unclear. Here we have described NKT TCR fine specificity against several closely related Ags, termed altered glycolipid ligands (AGLs), which differentially stimulate NKT cells. The structures of five ternary complexes all revealed similar docking. Acyl chain modifications did not affect the interaction, but reduced NKT cell proliferation, indicating an affect on Ag processing or presentation. Conversely, truncation of the phytosphingosine chain caused an induced fit mode of TCR binding that affected TCR affinity. Modifications in the glycosyl head group had a direct impact on the TCR interaction and associated cellular response, with ligand potency reflecting the t(1/2) life of the interaction. Accordingly, we have provided a molecular basis for understanding how modifications in AGLs can result in striking alterations in the cellular response of NKT cells.
Exploitation of silica gel/chloramine T mediated intramolecular nitrile oxide-alkene cycloaddition (INOC) of sugar-derived oximes to carbocycles furnished the first synthesis of gabosine F from l-arabinose in 12 steps with 23% overall yield, thereby confirming its absolute configuration. Similarly, efficient syntheses of gabosine O and 4-epi-gabosine O were accomplished from D-mannose in 9 and 11 steps with 41% and 38% overall yields, respectively, involving INOC, regioselective dehydration, and diastereoselective hydrogenation as the key steps.
Human and mouse type I natural killer T (NKT) cells respond to a variety of CD1d-restricted glycolipid antigens (Ags), with their NKT cell antigen receptors (NKT TCRs) exhibiting reciprocal cross-species reactivity that is underpinned by a conserved NKT TCR-CD1d-Ag docking mode. Within this common docking footprint, the NKT TCR recognizes, to varying degrees of affinity, a range of Ags. Presently, it is unclear whether the human NKT TCRs will mirror the generalities underpinning the fine specificity of the mouse NKT TCR-CD1d-Ag interaction. Here, we assessed human NKT TCR recognition against altered glycolipid ligands of ?-galactosylceramide (?-GalCer) and have determined the structures of a human NKT TCR in complex with CD1d-4,4?-deoxy-?-GalCer and CD1d-?-GalCer with a shorter, di-unsaturated acyl chain (C20:2). Altered glycolipid ligands with acyl chain modifications did not affect the affinity of the human NKT TCR-CD1d-Ag interaction. Surprisingly, human NKT TCR recognition is more tolerant to modifications at the 4-OH position in comparison with the 3-OH position of ?-GalCer, which contrasts the fine specificity of the mouse NKT TCR-CD1d-Ag recognition (4-OH > 3-OH). The fine specificity differences between human and mouse NKT TCRs was attributable to differing interactions between the respective complementarity-determining region 1? loops and the Ag. Accordingly, germline encoded fine-specificity differences underpin human and mouse type I NKT TCR interactions, which is an important consideration for therapeutic development and NKT cell physiology.
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