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Trends Immunol. 2009 Dec;30(12):562-8. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Oct 21.

Monocytes and gammadelta T cells: close encounters in microbial infection.

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  • 1Department of Infection, Immunity and Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, United Kingdom.


gammadelta T cells comprise an evolutionarily conserved yet poorly understood subset of T cells. Numerous features place these unconventional lymphocytes at the branching point between antigen-presenting cells and natural killer cells of the innate immune system and major-histocompatibility-complex-restricted alphabeta T cells of the adaptive immune system. We propose a role for human Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells in the generation of monocyte-derived inflammatory dendritic cells during infection. Our model incorporates the peculiar innate-like specificity of Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells for the microbial metabolite (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate (HMB-PP), co-recruitment of monocytes and Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells to sites of infection, and their crosstalk, with profound consequences for the initiation of antigen-specific alphabeta T-cell responses. Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells act thus as a cellular switch between innate and adaptive defence mechanisms.

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