Requirement for Vα14 NKT Cells in IL-12-Mediated Rejection of Tumors

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Science  28 Nov 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5343, pp. 1623-1626
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5343.1623

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A lymphocyte subpopulation, the Vα14 natural killer T (NKT) cells, expresses both NK1.1 and a single invariant T cell receptor encoded by the Vα14 and Jα281 gene segments. Mice with a deletion of the Jα281 gene segment were found to exclusively lack this subpopulation. The Vα14 NKT cell–deficient mice could no longer mediate the interleukin-12 (IL-12)–induced rejection of tumors. Although the antitumor effect of IL-12 was thought to be mediated through natural killer cells and T cells, Vα14 NKT cells were found to be an essential target of IL-12, and they mediated their cytotoxicity by an NK-like effector mechanism after activation with IL-12.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed: E-mail: taniguti{at}

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