PhD Student, Monash University
Structural basis of lipid mediated immunity via Natural killer T cell receptors (NKT TCRs)
Our body comprises a group of defense warriors that protect us from the infections caused by microbes such as bacteria and viruses. These soldiers typically sense the proteins present in microbes to execute their functions. Recently, a special group of defense warriors was identified which senses fats from microorganisms for their protective function. In my PhD thesis, the structural basis underpinning how these specialized warriors recognize microbial fats and its influence on the outcome of numerous medical conditions have been examined
Abstract: Natural killer T cells (NKT cells) are divided into type I and type II subsets on the basis of differences in their T cell antigen receptor (TCR) repertoire and CD1d-antigen specificity. Although the mode by which type I NKT cell TCRs recognize CD1d-antigen has been established, how type II NKT cell TCRs engage CD1d-antigen is unknown. Here we provide a basis for how a type II NKT cell TCR, XV19, recognized CD1d-sulfatide. The XV19 TCR bound orthogonally above the A' pocket of CD1d, in contrast to the parallel docking of type I NKT cell TCRs over the F' pocket of CD1d. At the XV19 TCR-CD1d-sulfatide interface, the TCRα and TCRβ chains sat centrally on CD1d, where the malleable CDR3 loops dominated interactions with CD1d-sulfatide. Accordingly, we highlight the diverse mechanisms by which NKT cell TCRs can bind CD1d and account for the distinct antigen specificity of type II NKT cells.
Pub.: 24 Jul '12, Pinned: 28 Aug '17
Abstract: The CD1 family is a large cluster of non-polymorphic, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class-I-like molecules that bind distinct lipid-based antigens that are recognized by T cells. The most studied group of T cells that interact with lipid antigens are natural killer T (NKT) cells, which characteristically express a semi-invariant T-cell receptor (NKT TCR) that specifically recognizes the CD1 family member, CD1d. NKT-cell-mediated recognition of the CD1d-antigen complex has been implicated in microbial immunity, tumour immunity, autoimmunity and allergy. Here we describe the structure of a human NKT TCR in complex with CD1d bound to the potent NKT-cell agonist alpha-galactosylceramide, the archetypal CD1d-restricted glycolipid. In contrast to T-cell receptor-peptide-antigen-MHC complexes, the NKT TCR docked parallel to, and at the extreme end of the CD1d-binding cleft, which enables a lock-and-key type interaction with the lipid antigen. The structure provides a basis for the interaction between the highly conserved NKT TCR alpha-chain and the CD1d-antigen complex that is typified in innate immunity, and also indicates how variability of the NKT TCR beta-chain can impact on recognition of other CD1d-antigen complexes. These findings provide direct insight into how a T-cell receptor recognizes a lipid-antigen-presenting molecule of the immune system.
Pub.: 22 Jun '07, Pinned: 24 Aug '17