Expansion and long-range differentiation of the NKT cell lineage in mice expressing CD1d exclusively on cortical thymocytes

Datsen G. Wei, Hyunji Lee, Se Ho Park, Lucie Beaudoin, Luc Teyton, Agnès Lehuen, Albert Bendelac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Citations (Scopus)


Unlike conventional major histocompatibility complex-restricted T cells, Vα 14-Jα 18 NKT cell lineage precursors engage in cognate interactions with CD1d-expressing bone marrow-derived cells that are both necessary and sufficient for their thymic selection and differentiation, but the nature and sequence of these interactions remain partially understood. After positive selection mediated by CD1d-expressing cortical thymocytes, the mature NKT cell lineage undergoes a series of changes suggesting antigen priming by a professional antigen-presenting cell, including extensive cell division, acquisition of a memory phenotype, the ability to produce interleukin-4 and interferon-γ , and the expression of a panoply of NK receptors. By using a combined transgenic and chimeric approach to restrict CD1d expression to cortical thymocytes and to prevent expression on other hematopoietic cell types such as dendritic cells, macrophages, or B cells, we found that, to a large extent, expansion and differentiation events could be imparted by a singlecognate interaction with CD1d-expressing cortical thymocytes. These surprising findings suggest that, unlike thymic epithelial cells, cortical thymocytes can provide unexpected, cell type-specific signals leading to lineage expansion and NKT cell differentiation. JEM

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-248
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul 18

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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