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NKT cells recognize lipid Ags presented by CD1d molecules and play an important role in the regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses. In this study, we report the identification of a membrane-associated protein, Ig-like transcript 4 (ILT4), as a novel human CD1d receptor that inhibits CD1d-mediated immune responses. We found that native CD1d tetramer generated by mammalian cells was able to specifically bind human monocytes in the peripheral blood, and this binding was at least partly mediated by monocyte-expressed ILT4. The interaction between ILT4 and CD1d involves the two N-terminal domains of ILT4 and the Ag-binding groove of CD1d (alpha1/alpha2 domain). This interaction has been identified on the cell surface as well as in the endosomal and lysosomal compartments. Functional analysis showed that ILT4 could block the loading of lipid Ags such as alpha-GalCer, and consequently inhibited NKT recognition. The interaction between ILT4 and CD1d may provide new insights into the regulation of NKT-mediated immunity.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





1033 - 1040


Animals, Antigen Presentation, Antigen-Presenting Cells, Antigens, CD1d, Cell Line, Cell Membrane, Cells, Cultured, Cytoplasm, Galactosylceramides, Humans, Immune Tolerance, Immunity, Cellular, Lymphocyte Activation, Membrane Glycoproteins, Monocytes, Protein Binding, Rats, Receptors, Immunologic