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J Immunol. 2005 Aug 15;175(4):2144-51.

Activation of V gamma 9V delta 2 T cells by NKG2D.

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  • 1Institut für Virologie und Immunobiologie, Julius-Maximilians Universität, Würzburg, Germany.


Human Vgamma9 Vdelta2 T cells recognize phosphorylated nonpeptide Ags (so called phosphoantigens), certain tumor cells, and cells treated with aminobisphosphonates. NKG2D, an activating receptor for NK cells, has been described as a potent costimulatory receptor in the Ag-specific activation of gammadelta and CD8 T cells. This study provides evidence that Vgamma9 Vdelta2 T cells may also be directly activated by NKG2D. Culture of PBMC with immobilized NKG2D-specific mAb or NKG2D ligand MHC class I related protein A (MICA) induces the up-regulation of CD69 and CD25 in NK and Vgamma9 Vdelta2 but not in CD8 T cells. Furthermore, NKG2D triggers the production of TNF-alpha but not of IFN-gamma, as well as the release of cytolytic granules by Vgamma9 Vdelta2 T cells. Purified Vgamma9 Vdelta2 T cells kill MICA-transfected RMA mouse cells but not control cells. Finally, DAP10, which mediates NKG2D signaling in human NK cells, was detected in resting and activated Vgamma9 Vdelta2 T cells. These remarkable similarities in NKG2D function in NK and Vgamma9 Vdelta2 T cells may open new perspectives for Vgamma9 Vdelta2 T cell-based immunotherapy, e.g., by Ag-independent killing of NKG2D ligand-expressing tumors.

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