Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Cell Discov


Invariant natural killer T cell (iNKT) subsets are differentially distributed in various immune organs. However, it remains unclear whether iNKT cells exhibit phenotypical and functional differences in different peripheral organs and how thymic iNKT cells emigrate to peripheral organs. Here, we used single-cell RNA-seq to map iNKT cells from peripheral organs. iNKT1 cells from liver, spleen, and lymph node appear to have distinct phenotypic profiles and functional capabilities. However, iNKT17 transcriptomes were comparable across peripheral organs. In addition, by integrating data with a thymic iNKT cell study, we uncovered a transient population of recent thymic emigrants, a cluster of peripheral iNKT cells with high expression of transcription factor Kruppel-like factor 2 (Klf2). Deletion of Klf2 led to a severe impairment of iNKT differentiation and migration. Our study revealed that iNKT subsets are uniquely distributed in peripheral organs with some inter-local tissue variation, especially for iNKT1 cell, and identified Klf2 as a rheostat for iNKT cell migration and differentiation.

PubMed ID






First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.