T cell Ig-like mucin-like-1 (TIM-1) is an important asthma susceptibility gene, but the immunological mechanisms by which TIM-1 functions remain uncertain. TIM-1 is also a receptor for phosphatidylserine (PtdSer), an important marker of cells undergoing programmed cell death, or apoptosis. We now demonstrate that NKT cells constitutively express TIM-1 and become activated by apoptotic cells expressing PtdSer. TIM-1 recognition of PtdSer induced NKT cell activation, proliferation, and cytokine production. Moreover, the induction of apoptosis in airway epithelial cells activated pulmonary NKT cells and unexpectedly resulted in airway hyperreactivity, a cardinal feature of asthma, in an NKT cell-dependent and TIM-1-dependent fashion. These results suggest that TIM-1 serves as a pattern recognition receptor on NKT cells that senses PtdSer on apoptotic cells as a damage-associated molecular pattern. Furthermore, these results provide evidence for a novel innate pathway that results in airway hyperreactivity and may help to explain how TIM-1 and NKT cells regulate asthma.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1001116
View details for Web of Science ID 000283248700036
View details for PubMedID 20889552
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3114419