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Bacterial deception of MAIT cells in a cloud of superantigen and cytokines.


ABSTRACT: The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is an important cause of the life-threatening condition toxic shock syndrome in humans. Bacterial toxins known as superantigens (SAgs) generate this illness by acting as broad activators of a substantial fraction of all T lymphocytes, bypassing the normally highly stringent T-cell receptor antigen specificity to cause a systemic inflammatory cytokine storm in the host. In a new study, Shaler et al. found that immune cells called mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells make an unexpectedly large contribution to the SAg response in a largely T-cell receptor-independent, cytokine-driven manner. Subsequent to such activation, the MAIT cells remain unresponsive to stimulation with bacterial antigen. Thus, S. aureus hijacks MAIT cells in the cytokine storm and leaves them functionally impaired. This work provides new insight into the role of MAIT cells in antibacterial immunity and opens new avenues of investigation to understand and possibly treat bacterial toxic shock and sepsis.

SUBMITTER: Sandberg JK 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5542701 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.1371/journal.pbio.2003167

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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