Phosphoantigen/IL2 Expansion and Differentiation of Vγ2Vδ2 T Cells Increase Resistance to Tuberculosis in Nonhuman Primates

Crystal Y. Chen, Shuyu Yao, Dan Huang, Huiyong Wei, Helene Sicard, Gucheng Zeng, Hassan Jomaa, Michelle H. Larsen, William R. Jacobs, Richard Wang, Norman Letvin, Yun Shen, Liyou Qiu, Ling Shen, Zheng W. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Dominant Vγ2Vδ2 T-cell subset exist only in primates, and recognize phosphoantigen from selected pathogens including M. tuberculosis(Mtb). In vivo function of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells in tuberculosis remains unknown. We conducted mechanistic studies to determine whether earlier expansion/differentiation of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells during Mtb infection could increase immune resistance to tuberculosis in macaques. Phosphoantigen/IL-2 administration specifically induced major expansion and pulmonary trafficking/accumulation of phosphoantigen-specific Vγ2Vδ2 T cells, significantly reduced Mtb burdens and attenuated tuberculosis lesions in lung tissues compared to saline/BSA or IL-2 controls. Expanded Vγ2Vδ2 T cells differentiated into multifunctional effector subpopulations capable of producing anti-TB cytokines IFNγ, perforin and granulysin, and co-producing perforin/granulysin in lung tissue. Mechanistically, perforin/granulysin-producing Vγ2Vδ2 T cells limited intracellular Mtb growth, and macaque granulysin had Mtb-bactericidal effect, and inhibited intracellular Mtb in presence of perforin. Furthermore, phosphoantigen/IL2-expanded Vγ2Vδ2 T effector cells produced IL-12, and their expansion/differentiation led to enhanced pulmonary responses of peptide-specific CD4+/CD8+ Th1-like cells. These results provide first in vivo evidence implicating that early expansion/differentiation of Vγ2Vδ2 T effector cells during Mtb infection increases resistance to tuberculosis. Thus, data support a rationale for conducting further studies of the γδ T-cell-targeted treatment of established TB, which might ultimately help explore single or adjunctive phosphoantigen expansion of Vγ2Vδ2 T-cell subset as intervention of MDR-tuberculosis or HIV-related tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1003501
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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