Nonclassical MHC class I-dependent invariant T cells are evolutionarily conserved and prominent from early development in amphibians

  • E.-S. Edholm, L.-M. Albertorio Saez, A. L. Gill, S. R. Gill, L. Grayfer, N. Haynes, J. R. Myers, J. Robert
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 2013, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1309840110

Xenopus Class Ib-restricted iT cells

What is it about?

We show that NKT cells exist in the amphibian (frog) Xenopus, and are capable of protecting animals from virus infection. Xenopus was known previously to have a large number of non-classical class I molecules of unknown function, and we have found that one of these class I molecules stimulates a subset of NKT cells, providing immune protection.

Why is it important?

Our study suggests that larval Xenopus, in which there are very few T cells, different subsets of NKT cells might recognize different non-classical class I molecules, and comprise the major arm of the T cell response. Robert’s work shows: 1) NKT cells are clearly not ‘dead-end’ cells in mammals, and likely are present in all vertebrates from shark to man; and 2) in animals with few lymphocytes, NKT cells may provide the bulk of the protective T cell response.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Jacques Robert