MAITs, MR1 and vitamin B metabolites

Richard William Birkinshaw, Lars Kjer-Nielsen, Sidonia B G Eckle, James McCluskey, Jamie Rossjohn

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alphabetaT-cell mediated immunity is traditionally characterised by recognition of peptides or lipids presented by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) or the CD1 family respectively. Recently the antigenic repertoire of alphabetaT-cells has been expanded with the observation that mucosal-associated invariant T-cells (MAIT cells), an abundant population of innate-like T-cells, can recognise metabolites of vitamin B, when presented by the MHC-related protein, MR1. The semi-invariant MAIT T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) recognises riboflavin and folic acid metabolites bound by MR1 in a conserved docking mode, and thus acts like a pattern recognition receptor. Here we review and discuss the recent observations concerning antigen presentation by MR1, the advent of MR1-Ag tetramers that specifically stain MAIT cells, recognition by the MAIT TCR, and our emerging understanding of MAIT cells in disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7 - 13
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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