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Science 296 (5567): 481-482

Copyright © 2002 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

T Before NK

H. Robson MacDonald

Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a small subset of T lymphocytes that express both activating T cell receptors and inhibitory NK cell receptors. In a Perspective, MacDonald discusses intriguing new findings published here (Benlagha et al.) and elsewhere, that identify an early NKT cell precursor in the thymus that expresses the T cell receptor but not NK cell receptors, yet can give rise to NKT cells that express both.

The author is at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Chemin des Boveresses 155, 1066 Epalinges, Switzerland. E-mail: hughrobson.macdonald{at}

Commitment toward the natural T (iNKT) cell lineage occurs at the CD4+8+ stage of thymic ontogeny.
J. S. Bezbradica, T. Hill, A. K. Stanic, L. Van Kaer, and S. Joyce (2005)
PNAS 102, 5114-5119
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Human Invariant V{alpha}24-J{alpha}Q TCR Supports the Development of CD1d-Dependent NK1.1+ and NK1.1- T Cells in Transgenic Mice.
M. Capone, D. Cantarella, J. Schumann, O. V. Naidenko, C. Garavaglia, F. Beermann, M. Kronenberg, P. Dellabona, H. R. MacDonald, and G. Casorati (2003)
J. Immunol. 170, 2390-2398
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

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