Mucosal-associated invariant T-cell activation and accumulation after in vivo infection depends on microbial riboflavin synthesis and co-stimulatory signals

Z Chen, H Wang, C D'Souza, S Sun, L Kostenko, SBG Eckle, BS Meehan, DC Jackson, RA Strugnell, H Cao, N Wang, DP Fairlie, L Liu, DI Godfrey, J Rossjohn, J McCluskey, AJ Corbett

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173 Citations (Scopus)


Despite recent breakthroughs in identifying mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cell antigens (Ags), the precise requirements for in vivo MAIT cell responses to infection remain unclear. Using major histocompatibility complex–related protein 1 (MR1) tetramers, the MAIT cell response was investigated in a model of bacterial lung infection employing riboflavin gene-competent and -deficient bacteria. MAIT cells were rapidly enriched in the lungs of C57BL/6 mice infected with Salmonella Typhimurium, comprising up to 50% of αβ-T cells after 1 week. MAIT cell accumulation was MR1-dependent, required Ag derived from the microbial riboflavin synthesis pathway, and did not occur in response to synthetic Ag, unless accompanied by a Toll-like receptor agonist or by co-infection with riboflavin pathway-deficient S. Typhimurium. The MAIT cell response was associated with their long-term accumulation in the lungs, draining lymph nodes and spleen. Lung MAIT cells from infected mice displayed an activated/memory phenotype, and most expressed the transcription factor retinoic acid–related orphan receptor γt. T-bet expression increased following infection. The majority produced interleukin-17 while smaller subsets produced interferon-γ or tumor necrosis factor, detected directly ex vivo. Thus the activation and expansion of MAIT cells coupled with their pro-inflammatory cytokine production occurred in response to Ags derived from microbial riboflavin synthesis and was augmented by co-stimulatory signals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-68
Number of pages11
JournalMucosal Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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