Published: 18-12-2018 11:37 | Updated: 18-12-2018 11:39

New study on the function of MAIT cells in bacterial infections

Johan Sandberg and his research group at Center for Infectious Medicine have published an article in the scientific journal PNAS.

What is the article about?

"Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are unconventional innate-like T cells that recognize microbial riboflavin metabolites presented by the MHC class I-like protein MR1. Human MAIT cells predominantly express the CD8α coreceptor (CD8+), with a smaller subset lacking both CD4 and CD8 (CD8-). However, it is unclear if these two MAIT cell subpopulations distinguished by CD8α represent functionally distinct subsets." says Johan Sandberg, Professor in Viral Immunology.

How can the study be used?

"Our findings improve our understanding of how MAIT cells participate in the defense against bacterial infections and will help the development of new treatments that harness the antimicrobial function of MAIT cells."

What is new in this study?

"Here, we show that the CD8+ and CD8- subpopulations of human MAIT cells represent transcriptionally and phenotypically discrete subsets with distinct functional profiles. Furthermore, T cell receptor repertoire analysis, as well as MAIT cell data based on human fetal tissues, umbilical cord blood, and culture systems indicate that the CD8- subset may derive from the main CD8+ MAIT cell pool. Thus, MAIT cells, a major antimicrobial effector T cell population in humans, segregate into two functionally distinct but developmentally related subsets separated by the expression of CD8. This functional difference may have significant implications in infectious and inflammatory diseases."

Read the article