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Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2011 Apr;59(2):117-37. doi: 10.1007/s00005-011-0118-1. Epub 2011 Feb 6.

γδ T cell receptor ligands and modes of antigen recognition.

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  • 1INSERM U1043/CNRS U5282; Université de Toulouse, UPS, Centre de Physiopathologie de Toulouse Purpan, Toulouse, France.


T lymphocytes expressing the γδ-type of T cell receptors (TCRs) for antigens contribute to all aspects of immune responses, including defenses against viruses, bacteria, parasites and tumors, allergy and autoimmunity. Multiple subsets have been individualized in humans as well as in mice and they appear to recognize in a TCR-dependent manner antigens as diverse as small non-peptidic molecules, soluble or membrane-anchored polypeptides and molecules related to MHC antigens on cell surfaces, implying diverse modes of antigen recognition. We review here the γδ TCR ligands which have been identified along the years and their characteristics, with emphasis on a few systems which have been extensively studied such as human γδ T cells responding to phosphoantigens or murine γδ T cells activated by allogeneic MHC antigens. We discuss a speculative model of antigen recognition involving simultaneous TCR recognition of MHC-like and non-MHC ligands which could fit with most available data and shares many similarities with the classical model of MHC-restricted antigen recognition for peptides or lipids by T cells subsets with αβ-type TCRs.

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