A closer look at CD1d molecules: new horizons in studying NKT cells.
Stronge VS., Salio M., Jones EY., Cerundolo V.
Recent findings have highlighted the ability of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells to recognize microbe-derived glycolipids and have demonstrated the role of these cells in several disease states, from autoimmune disease to cancer. It has also become clear that iNKT cells can rapidly mature dendritic cells and licence them to prime antigen-specific T- and B-cell responses. The use of CD1d tetramers to monitor iNKT cell frequency and phenotype has moved the field forward at a fast pace. To harness iNKT cells for therapeutic purposes and to understand their role in vivo, it is essential to characterize the molecular events that contribute to iNKT cell activation. Here we review new reagents and novel protocols that are facilitating a closer look at lipid presentation by CD1d molecules and their recognition by iNKT cells.