T Before NK

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Science  19 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5567, pp. 481-482
DOI: 10.1126/science.1071492

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Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a small subset of T lymphocytes that express both activating T cell receptors and inhibitory NK cell receptors. In a Perspective, MacDonald discusses intriguing new findings published here ( Benlagha et al.) and elsewhere, that identify an early NKT cell precursor in the thymus that expresses the T cell receptor but not NK cell receptors, yet can give rise to NKT cells that express both.