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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2011, Article ID 790460, 27 pages
Review Article

Exogenous Control of the Expression of Group I CD1 Molecules Competent for Presentation of Microbial Nonpeptide Antigens to Human T Lymphocytes

1Department of Neuroscience, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Rome, Italy
2Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata-IRCCS, Via dei Monti di Creta 104, 00167 Rome, Italy

Received 15 October 2010; Revised 12 January 2011; Accepted 19 January 2011

Academic Editor: Carl Feng

Copyright © 2011 Angelo Aquino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Group I CD1 (CD1a, CD1b, and CD1c) glycoproteins expressed on immature and mature dendritic cells present nonpeptide antigens (i.e., lipid or glycolipid molecules mainly of microbial origin) to T cells. Cytotoxic CD1-restricted T lymphocytes recognizing mycobacterial lipid antigens were found in tuberculosis patients. However, thanks to a complex interplay between mycobacteria and CD1 system, M. tuberculosis possesses a successful tactic based, at least in part, on CD1 downregulation to evade CD1-dependent immunity. On the ground of these findings, it is reasonable to hypothesize that modulation of CD1 protein expression by chemical, biological, or infectious agents could influence host's immune reactivity against M. tuberculosis-associated lipids, possibly affecting antitubercular resistance. This scenario prompted us to perform a detailed analysis of the literature concerning the effect of external agents on Group I CD1 expression in order to obtain valuable information on the possible strategies to be adopted for driving properly CD1-dependent immune functions in human pathology and in particular, in human tuberculosis.