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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2876275, 11 pages
Review Article

CD1-Restricted T Cells at the Crossroad of Innate and Adaptive Immunity

1Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
2Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular (IBMC), Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
3Departamento de Ciências Médicas, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

Received 8 August 2016; Accepted 13 November 2016

Academic Editor: Mikhail M. Dikov

Copyright © 2016 Catia S. Pereira and M. Fatima Macedo. 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.


Lipid-specific T cells comprise a group of T cells that recognize lipids bound to the MHC class I-like CD1 molecules. There are four isoforms of CD1 that are expressed at the surface of antigen presenting cells and therefore capable of presenting lipid antigens: CD1a, CD1b, CD1c, and CD1d. Each one of these isoforms has distinct structural features and cellular localizations, which promotes binding to a broad range of different types of lipids. Lipid antigens originate from either self-tissues or foreign sources, such as bacteria, fungus, or plants and their recognition by CD1-restricted T cells has important implications in infection but also in cancer and autoimmunity. In this review, we describe the characteristics of CD1 molecules and CD1-restricted lipid-specific T cells, highlighting the innate-like and adaptive-like features of different CD1-restricted T cell subtypes.