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High CD26 and Low CD94 Expression Identifies an IL-23 Responsive Vδ2+ T Cell Subset with a MAIT Cell-like Transcriptional Profile


  • Wragg, Kathleen M.
  • Tan, Hyon-Xhi
  • Kristensen, Anne B.
  • Nguyen-Robertson, Catriona V.
  • Kelleher, Anthony D.
  • Parsons, Matthew S.
  • Wheatley, Adam K.
  • Berzins, Stuart P.
  • Pellicci, Daniel G.
  • Kent, Stephen J.
  • Juno, Jennifer A.


Cell Reports, Volume 31, Issue 11, 2020-06-16

Article Link: Click here

Summary Vδ2+ T cells play a critical role in immunity to micro-organisms and cancer but exhibit substantial heterogeneity in humans. Here, we demonstrate that CD26 and CD94 define transcriptionally, phenotypically, and functionally distinct Vδ2+ T cell subsets. Despite distinct antigen specificities, CD26hiCD94lo Vδ2+ cells exhibit substantial similarities to CD26hi mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, although CD26− Vδ2+ cells exhibit cytotoxic, effector-like profiles. At birth, the Vδ2+Vγ9+ population is dominated by CD26hiCD94lo cells; during adolescence and adulthood, Vδ2+ cells acquire CD94/NKG2A expression and the relative frequency of the CD26hiCD94lo subset declines. Critically, exposure of the CD26hiCD94lo subset to phosphoantigen in the context of interleukin-23 (IL-23) and CD26 engagement drives the acquisition of a cytotoxic program and concurrent loss of the MAIT cell-like phenotype. The ability to modulate the cytotoxic potential of CD26hiCD94lo Vδ2+ cells, combined with their adenosine-binding capacity, may make them ideal targets for immunotherapeutic expansion and adoptive transfer.