Expression of CD1d2 on thymocytes is not sufficient for the development of NK T cells in CD1d1-deficient mice

Yi Hua Chen, Bin Wang, Taehoon Chun, Lillian Zhao, Susanna Cardell, Samuel M. Behar, Michael B. Brenner, Chyung Ru Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


CD1 is an MHC class I-like molecule that has been conserved throughout mammalian evolution. Unlike MHC class I molecules, CD1 can present unique nonprotein antigens to T cells. The murine CD1 locus contains two highly homologous genes, CD1d1 and CD1d2. CD1d1 is essential for the development of a major subset of NK T cells that promptly secrete IL-4 following activation. However, the function of CD1d2 has not yet been demonstrated. In the present study, we examined the expression of CD1d2 in CD1d1-deficient (CD1d1°) mice with the anti-CD1 Ab 3H3. Unlike CD1d1, which is expressed by all lymphocytes, CD1d2 can be detected only on the surface of thymocytes. To determine whether CD1d2 can select a unique subset of NK T cells, we compared the remnant population of NK T cells in CD1d1°and CD1d1, CD1d2-double deficient (CD1d1°CD1d2°) mice. No significant difference in the number of NK T cells and cytokine secretion capacity can be detected between CD1d1°and CD1d1°CD1d2°mice, indicating that CD1d2 cannot substitute for CD1d1 in NK T cell development. The inability of CD1d2 to select NK T cells is not due to the structural constraints of CD1d2 since CD1d2-transfected cells can be recognized by both NK T cell hybridomas and freshly isolated NK T cells. Given the structural similarities, it is possible that the low levels of surface expression and limited tissue distribution of CD1d2 may prevent it from functioning in the selection and expansion of NK T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4560-4566
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Apr 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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