KRN7000, a glycolipid derived from the marine sponge has a novel α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) structure and exhibits potent anti-tumor activity by stimulating a strong immune response. Natural Killer T Cells (NKT cells) serve as an important role regulating the immune response and in the presence of KRN7000 stimulate NKT cells to releasing a rapid production of Th1 and Th2 cytokines including IL-4, IL-10, IL-13 and IFN-gama (1,2) strongly enhancing the immune system against tumors, autoimmune diseases, viral, bacterial and parasites. It has been experimentally determined that KRN7000 is presented by CD1d and works as a ligand to the invariant Vα 14 T cell receptor of mouse NK1.1+ Vα14Jα281β T cell receptor+ (NKT) cells (3,4) and the invariant Vα24JαQVβ11 T cell receptor of human NKT cells (5). The KRN7000 biochemical mechanism triggering the immune response has not been fully characterized and investigators continue to to understand the underlying mechanism.
Alpha-GalCer complexed with CD1d.
Graphic file from Universite De Reims