Carbohydrates and T cells: a sweet twosome.

TitleCarbohydrates and T cells: a sweet twosome.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsAvci FY, Li X, Tsuji M, Kasper DL
JournalSeminars in immunology
Volume25
Issue2
Pagination146-51
Date Published2013 Apr
Abstract

Carbohydrates as T cell-activating antigens have been generating significant interest. For many years, carbohydrates were thought of as T-independent antigens, however, more recent research had demonstrated that mono- or oligosaccharides glycosidically linked to peptides can be recognized by T cells. T cell recognition of these glycopeptides depends on the structure of both peptide and glycan portions of the antigen. Subsequently, it was discovered that natural killer T cells recognized glycolipids when presented by the antigen presenting molecule CD1d. A transformative insight into glycan-recognition by T cells occurred when zwitterionic polysaccharides were discovered to bind to and be presented by MHCII to CD4+ T cells. Based on this latter observation, the role that carbohydrate epitopes generated from glycoconjugate vaccines had in activating helper T cells was explored and it was found that these epitopes are presented to specific carbohydrate recognizing T cells through a unique mechanism. Here we review the key interactions between carbohydrate antigens and the adaptive immune system at the molecular, cellular and systems levels exploring the significant biological implications in health and disease.

DOI10.1105/tpc.113.112417
Alternate JournalSemin. Immunol.