A novel lymphocyte lineage, Vα14 natural killer T (NKT) cells, is now well established as distinct from conventional αβ T cells. Vα14 NKT cells express a single invariant Vα14 antigen receptor that is essential for their development. Successful identification of a specific ligand, α-galactosylceramide(α-GalCer), and the establishment of gene-manipulated mice with selective loss of Vα14 NKT cells helped elucidate the remarkable functional diversity of Vα14 NKT cells in various immune responses such as host defense by mediating anti-nonself innate immune reaction, homeostatic regulation of anti-self responses, and antitumor immunity.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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