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Immunology. 2007 Mar;120(3):354-61. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Functional characterization of a T-cell receptor BV6+ T-cell clone derived from a leprosy lesion.

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  • 1Division of Dermatology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Human infection with Mycobacterium leprae, an intracellular bacterium, presents as a clinical and immunological spectrum; thus leprosy provides an opportunity to investigate mechanisms of T-cell responsiveness to a microbial pathogen. Analysis of the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire in leprosy lesions revealed that TCR BV6(+) T cells containing a conserved CDR3 motif are over-represented in lesions from patients with the localized form of the disease. Here, we derived a T-cell clone from a leprosy lesion that expressed TCR BV6 and the conserved CDR3 sequence L-S-G. This T-cell clone produced a T helper type 1 cytokine pattern, directly lysed M. leprae-pulsed antigen-presenting cells by the granule exocytosis pathway, and expressed the antimicrobial protein granulysin. BV6(+) T cells may therefore functionally contribute to the cell-mediated immune response against M. leprae.

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