CD1d and Natural Killer T Cells in Immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis

  • Pooja Arora
  • Erin L. Foster
  • Steven A. PorcelliEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 783)


The critical role of peptide antigen-specific T cells in controlling mycobacterial infections is well documented in natural resistance and vaccine-induced immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, many other populations of leukocytes contribute to innate and adaptive immunity against mycobacteria. Among these, non-conventional T cells recognizing lipid antigens presented by the CD1 antigen presentation system have attracted particular interest. In this chapter, we review the basic immunobiology and potential antimycobacterial properties of a subset of CD1-restricted T cells that have come to be known as Natural Killer T cells. This group of lipid reactive T cells is notable for its high level of conservation between humans and mice, thus enabling a wide range of highly informative studies in mouse models. As reviewed below, NKT cells appear to have subtle but potentially significant activities in the host response to mycobacteria. Importantly, they also provide a framework for investigations into other types of lipid antigen-specific T cells that may be more abundant in larger mammals such as humans.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis Natural killer T (NKT) cells Mammalian major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I proteins CD1D1 genes T cell antigen receptors Cortical thymocytes CD1d expression Macrophages Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) Saposin family (saposins A–D) Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) Niemann-pick type C2 (NPC2) protein Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells Glycolipids Mycobacterium bovis BCG 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pooja Arora
    • 1
  • Erin L. Foster
    • 1
  • Steven A. Porcelli
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA

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