Generation of CD1 tetramers as a tool to monitor glycolipid–specific T cells
Gadola SD., Karadimitris A., Zaccai NR., Salio M., Dulphy N., Shepherd D., Yvonne Jones E., Cerundolo V.
CD1 molecules are β 2 m–associated HLA class–I–like glycoproteins which have the unique ability to present glycolipid and phospholipid antigens to specific T lymphocytes. To study the biology of CD1 and its role in human disease we developed novel techniques for generation of recombinant CD1/lipid complexes by in vitro refolding. Fluorescent tetrameric complexes made from soluble recombinant CD1d/α–galactosylceramide complexes allowed highly sensitive and specific ex vivo and in vitro detection and functional characterization of novel human T–lymphocyte populations. Furthermore, protein crystals were obtained from soluble recombinant CD1b/β 2 m–proteins loaded either with phosphatidylinositol or ganglioside GM2, which led to the first atomic structure determination of a CD1/lipid complex. The analysis of these crystal structures clarified how CD1b molecules can bind lipid ligands of different size, and revealed a broader spectrum of potential CD1b ligands than previously predicted.