Conservation of mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells and the MR1 restriction element in ruminants, and abundance of MAIT cells in spleen.
ABSTRACT: MHC-related protein 1 (MR1) is a highly conserved MHC class I-like molecule. Human and murine mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are restricted by MR1 and express an invariant T cell receptor. Even though MR1 protein expression on the cell surface has not been demonstrated in vivo or ex vivo, it is assumed that MR1 presents a bacterial antigen from the intestinal lumen to MAIT cells because MAIT cells are present in the lamina propria and their expansion is dependent on the presence of intestinal micro flora. The existence of bovine MAIT cells and MR1 has been demonstrated recently although ovine MAIT cells and MR1 have not yet been described. We cloned bovine and ovine MR1 transcripts, including splice variants, and identified an anti human MR1 antibody that recognizes cells transfected with the bovine homolog. Using this antibody, no MR1 staining was detected using cells freshly isolated from blood, thymus, spleen, colon, ileum, and lymph node. MAIT cells are known to be enriched in the CD4/CD8 double negative peripheral blood T cell population, but their relative abundance in different tissues is not known. Comparison of the amount of MAIT cell-specific TCR transcript to the amount of constant alpha chain transcript revealed that numbers of MAIT cells are low in neonates and increase by 3-weeks of age. In 3-month old animals, MAIT cells are abundant in spleen and less so in ileum, peripheral blood, lymph node, colon, and thymus.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells display two evolutionarily conserved features: an invariant T cell receptor (TCR)alpha (iTCRalpha) chain and restriction by the nonpolymorphic class Ib major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule, MHC-related molecule 1 (MR1). MR1 expression on thymus epithelial cells is not necessary for MAIT cell development but their accumulation in the gut requires MR1 expressing B cells and commensal flora. MAIT cell development is poorly known, as these cells have not been found in the thymus so far. Herein, complementary human and mouse experiments using an anti-humanValpha7.2 antibody and MAIT cell-specific iTCRalpha and TCRbeta transgenic mice in different genetic backgrounds show that MAIT cell development is a stepwise process, with an intra-thymic selection followed by peripheral expansion. Mouse MAIT cells are selected in an MR1-dependent manner both in fetal thymic organ culture and in double iTCRalpha and TCRbeta transgenic RAG knockout mice. In the latter mice, MAIT cells do not expand in the periphery unless B cells are added back by adoptive transfer, showing that B cells are not required for the initial thymic selection step but for the peripheral accumulation. In humans, contrary to natural killer T (NKT) cells, MAIT cells display a naïve phenotype in the thymus as well as in cord blood where they are in low numbers. After birth, MAIT cells acquire a memory phenotype and expand dramatically, up to 1%-4% of blood T cells. Finally, in contrast with NKT cells, human MAIT cell development is independent of the molecular adaptor SAP. Interestingly, mouse MAIT cells display a naïve phenotype and do not express the ZBTB16 transcription factor, which, in contrast, is expressed by NKT cells and the memory human MAIT cells found in the periphery after birth. In conclusion, MAIT cells are selected by MR1 in the thymus on a non-B non-T hematopoietic cell, and acquire a memory phenotype and expand in the periphery in a process dependent both upon B cells and the bacterial flora. Thus, their development follows a unique pattern at the crossroad of NKT and gammadelta T cells.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are a subset of unconventional T cells that recognize the evolutionarily conserved major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-like antigen-presenting molecule known as MHC class I related protein 1 (MR1). Since their rise from obscurity in the early 1990s, the study of MAIT cells has grown substantially, accelerating our fundamental understanding of these cells and their possible roles in immunity. In the context of recent advances, we review here the relationship between MR1, antigen, and TCR usage among MAIT and other MR1-reactive T cells and provide a speculative discussion.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T cells are a unique population of T cells that express a semi-invariant ?? TCR and are restricted by the MHC class I-related molecule MR1. MAIT cells recognize uncharacterized ligand(s) presented by MR1 through the cognate interaction between their TCR and MR1. To understand how the MAIT TCR recognizes MR1 at the surface of APCs cultured both with and without bacteria, we undertook extensive mutational analysis of both the MAIT TCR and MR1 molecule. We found differential contribution of particular amino acids to the MAIT TCR-MR1 interaction based upon the presence of bacteria, supporting the hypothesis that the structure of the MR1 molecules with the microbial-derived ligand(s) differs from the one with the endogenous ligand(s). Furthermore, we demonstrate that microbial-derived ligand(s) is resistant to proteinase K digestion and does not extract with common lipids, suggesting an unexpected class of antigen(s) might be recognized by this unique lymphocyte population.
Project description:Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are "innate" T cells that express an invariant T-cell receptor ?-chain restricted by the nonclassical MHC class I molecule MHC-related protein 1 (MR1). A recent discovery that MR1 presents vitamin B metabolites, presumably from pathogenic and/or commensal bacteria, distinguishes MAIT cells from peptide- or lipid-recognizing ?? T cells in the immune system. MAIT cells are activated by a wide variety of bacterial strains in vitro, but their role in defense against infectious assaults in vivo remains largely unknown. To investigate how MAIT cells contribute to mucosal immunity in vivo, we used a murine model of pulmonary infection by using the live vaccine strain (LVS) of Francisella tularensis. In the early acute phase of infection, MAIT cells expanded robustly in the lungs, where they preferentially accumulated after reaching their peak expansion in the late phase of infection. Throughout the course of infection, MAIT cells produced the critical cytokines IFN-?, TNF-?, and IL-17A. Mechanistic studies showed that MAIT cells required both MR1 and IL-12 40 kDa subunit (IL-12p40) signals from infected antigen presenting cells to control F. tularensis LVS intracellular growth. Importantly, pulmonary F. tularensis LVS infection of MR1-deficient (MR1(-/-)) mice, which lack MAIT cells, revealed defects in early mucosal cytokine production, timely recruitment of IFN-?-producing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells to the infected lungs, and control of pulmonary F. tularensis LVS growth. This study provides in vivo evidence demonstrating that MAIT cells are an important T-cell subset with activities that influence the innate and adaptive phases of mucosal immunity.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are an evolutionarily conserved ?? T-cell lineage that express a semi-invariant T-cell receptor (TCR) restricted to the MHC related-1 (MR1) protein. MAIT cells are dependent upon MR1 expression and exposure to microbes for their development and stimulation, yet these cells can exhibit microbial-independent stimulation when responding to MR1 from different species. We have used this microbial-independent, cross-species reactivity of MAIT cells to define the molecular basis of MAIT-TCR/MR1 engagement and present here a 2.85 Å complex structure of a human MAIT-TCR bound to bovine MR1. The MR1 binding groove is similar in backbone structure to classical peptide-presenting MHC class I molecules (MHCp), yet is partially occluded by large aromatic residues that form cavities suitable for small ligand presentation. The docking of the MAIT-TCR on MR1 is perpendicular to the MR1 surface and straddles the MR1 ?1 and ?2 helices, similar to classical ?? TCR engagement of MHCp. However, the MAIT-TCR contacts are dominated by the ?-chain, focused on the MR1 ?2 helix. TCR ?-chain contacts are mostly through the variable CDR3? loop that is positioned proximal to the CDR3? loop directly over the MR1 open groove. The elucidation of the MAIT TCR/MR1 complex structure explains how the semi-invariant MAIT-TCR engages the nonpolymorphic MR1 protein, and sheds light onto ligand discrimination by this cell type. Importantly, this structure also provides a critical link in our understanding of the evolution of ?? T-cell recognition of MHC and MHC-like ligands.
Project description:Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells can sense intracellular infection by a broad array of pathogens. These cells are activated upon encountering microbial antigen(s) displayed by MR1 on the surface of an infected cell. Human MR1 undergoes alternative splicing. The full-length isoform, MR1A, can activate MAIT cells, while the function of the isoforms, MR1B and MR1C, are incompletely understood. In this report, we sought to characterize the expression and function of these splice variants. Using a transcriptomic analysis in conjunction with qPCR, we find that that MR1A and MR1B transcripts are widely expressed. However only MR1A can present mycobacterial antigen to MAIT cells. Coexpression of MR1B with MR1A decreases MAIT cell activation following bacterial infection. Additionally, expression of MR1B prior to MR1A lowers total MR1A abundance, suggesting competition between MR1A and MR1B for either ligands or chaperones required for folding and/or trafficking. Finally, we evaluated CD4/CD8 double positive thymocytes expressing surface MR1. Here, we find that relative expression of MR1A/MR1B transcript is associated with the prevalence of MR1?+?CD4/CD8 cells in the thymus. Our results suggest alternative splicing of MR1 represents a means of regulating MAIT activation in response to microbial ligand(s).
Project description:Mucosal associated invariant T cells (MAIT) are innate T lymphocytes that detect a large variety of bacteria and yeasts. This recognition depends on the detection of microbial compounds presented by the evolutionarily conserved major-histocompatibility-complex (MHC) class I molecule, MR1. Here we show that MAIT cells display cytotoxic activity towards MR1 overexpressing non-hematopoietic cells cocultured with bacteria. The NK receptor, CD161, highly expressed by MAIT cells, modulated the cytokine but not the cytotoxic response triggered by bacteria infected cells. MAIT cells are also activated by and kill epithelial cells expressing endogenous levels of MRI after infection with the invasive bacteria Shigella flexneri. In contrast, MAIT cells were not activated by epithelial cells infected by Salmonella enterica Typhimurium. Finally, MAIT cells are activated in human volunteers receiving an attenuated strain of Shigella dysenteriae-1 tested as a potential vaccine. Thus, in humans, MAIT cells are the most abundant T cell subset able to detect and kill bacteria infected cells.
Project description:Mucosal-associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells recognize vitamin B-based antigens presented by the non-polymorphic MHC class I related-1 molecule (MR1). Both MAIT T cell receptors (TCR) and MR1 are highly conserved among mammals, suggesting an important, and conserved, immune function. For many years, the antigens they recognize were unknown. The discovery that MR1 presents vitamin B-based small molecule ligands resulted in a rapid expansion of research in this area, which has yielded information on the role of MAIT cells in immune protection, autoimmune disease and recently in homeostasis and cancer. More recently, we have begun to appreciate the diverse nature of the small molecule ligands that can bind MR1, with several less potent antigens and small molecule drugs that can bind MR1 being identified. Complementary structural information has revealed the complex nature of interactions defining antigen recognition. Additionally, we now view MAIT cells (defined here as MR1-riboflavin-Ag reactive, TRAV1-2+ cells) as one subset of a broader family of MR1-reactive T cells (MR1T cells). Despite these advances, we still lack a complete understanding of how MR1 ligands are generated, presented and recognized in vivo. The biological relevance of these MR1 ligands and the function of MR1T cells in infection and disease warrants further investigation with new tools and approaches.
Project description:Human mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells express the semi-invariant T-cell receptor (TCR) V?7.2 and are restricted by the major histocompatibility complex-Ib molecule MR1. While MAIT cells share similarities with other innate T cells, the extent to which MAIT cells are innate and their capacity to adapt is unknown. We evaluated the function of V?7.2(+) T cells from the thymus, cord blood, and peripheral blood. Although antigen-inexperienced MAIT cells displayed a naïve phenotype, these had intrinsic effector capacity in response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb)-infected cells. V?7.2(+) effector thymocytes contained signal joint TCR gene excision circles (sjTRECs) suggesting limited replication and thymic origin. In evaluating the capacity of Mtb-reactive MAIT cells to adapt, we found that those from the peripheral blood demonstrated a memory phenotype and had undergone substantial expansion, suggesting that they responded to antigenic stimulation. MAIT cells, an evolutionarily conserved T-cell subset that detects a variety of intracellular infections, share features of innate and adaptive immunity.
Project description:The development of mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells is dependent upon the class Ib molecule MHC-related protein 1 (MR1), commensal bacteria, and a thymus. Furthermore, recent studies have implicated MR1 presentation to MAIT cells in bacteria recognition, although the mechanism remains undefined. Surprisingly, however, surface expression of MR1 has been difficult to detect serologically, despite ubiquitous detection of MR1 transcripts and intracellular protein. In this article, we define a unique mAb capable of stabilizing endogenous mouse MR1 at the cell surface, resulting in enhanced mouse MAIT cell activation. Our results demonstrated that under basal conditions, endogenous MR1 transiently visits the cell surface, thus reconciling the aforementioned serologic and functional studies. Furthermore, using this approach, double-positive thymocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells were identified as potential APCs for MAIT cell development and activation. Based on this pattern of MR1 expression, it is intriguing to speculate that constitutive expression of MR1 may be detrimental for maintenance of immune homeostasis in the gut and/or detection of pathogenic bacteria in mucosal tissues.