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Type I natural killer T (NKT) cells are innate-like T lymphocytes that recognize glycolipid antigens presented by the MHC class I-like protein CD1d. Agonistic activation of NKT cells leads to rapid pro-inflammatory and immune modulatory cytokine and chemokine responses. This property of NKT cells, in conjunction with their interactions with antigen-presenting cells, controls downstream innate and adaptive immune responses against cancers and infectious diseases, as well as in several inflammatory disorders. NKT cell properties are acquired during development in the thymus and by interactions with the host microbial consortium in the gut, the nature of which can be influenced by NKT cells. This latter property, together with the role of the host microbiota in cancer therapy, necessitates a new perspective. Hence, this review provides an initial approach to understanding NKT cells from an ecological evolutionary developmental biology (eco-evo-devo) perspective.

Original publication

DOI

10.3389/fimmu.2017.01858

Type

Journal article

Journal

Front Immunol

Publication Date

2017

Volume

8

Keywords

NKT cells, cancer immunotherapy, evolution, infectious diseases, microbiota