Group 1 CD1-restricted T cells and the pathophysiological implications of self-lipid antigen recognition

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Abstract

T cell responses are generally regarded as specific for protein-derived peptide antigens. This is based on the molecular paradigm dictated by the T cell receptor (TCR) recognition of peptide-major histocompatibility complexs, which provides the molecular bases of the specificity and restriction of the T cell responses. An increasing number of findings in the last 20 years have challenged this paradigm, by showing the existence of T cells specific for lipid antigens presented by CD1 molecules. CD1-restricted T cells have been proven to be frequent components of the immune system and to recognize exogenous lipids, derived from pathogenic bacteria, as well as cell-endogenous self-lipids. This represents a young and exciting area of research in immunology with intriguing biological bases and a potential direct impact on human health.

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