Zhou L, Adrianto I, Wang J, Wu X, Datta I, and Mi QS. Single-Cell RNA-Seq Analysis Uncovers Distinct Functional Human NKT Cell Sub-Populations in Peripheral Blood. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 2020; 8.
Front Cell Dev Biol
Vα24-invariant human natural killer T (NKT) cells comprise a unique subset of CD1d-restricted T cells with potent immune regulatory function and are involved in the development of a variety of human diseases. However, the lack of comprehensive molecular subset identities limits their objective classification and clinical application. Using unbiased single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) of over 4000 unstimulated and 7000 stimulated human peripheral blood NKT cells, we identified four and five clusters of NKT cells from each NKT group, respectively. Our study uncovers multiple previously unrecognized NKT subsets with potential functional specificities, including a cluster of NKT cells with regulatory T cell property. Flow cytometry and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis confirmed the existence of these NKT populations and indicated the related functional capacities. Our study provides the unbiased and more comprehensive molecular identities of human NKT subsets, which will eventually lead the way to tailored therapies targeting selected NKT subsets.