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Nat Immunol. 2012 Sep;13(9):872-9. doi: 10.1038/ni.2394. Epub 2012 Aug 12.

Cytomegalovirus and tumor stress surveillance by binding of a human γδ T cell antigen receptor to endothelial protein C receptor.

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Birmingham Cancer Research UK Cancer Centre, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.


T cells bearing γδ T cell antigen receptors (TCRs) function in lymphoid stress surveillance. However, the contribution of γδ TCRs to such responses is unclear. Here we found that the TCR of a human V(γ)4V(δ)5 clone directly bound endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR), which allowed γδ T cells to recognize both endothelial cells targeted by cytomegalovirus and epithelial tumors. EPCR is a major histocompatibility complex-like molecule that binds lipids analogously to the antigen-presenting molecule CD1d. However, the V(γ)4V(δ)5 TCR bound EPCR independently of lipids, in an antibody-like way. Moreover, the recognition of target cells by γδ T cells required a multimolecular stress signature composed of EPCR and costimulatory ligand(s). Our results demonstrate how a γδ TCR mediates recognition of broadly stressed human cells by engaging a stress-regulated self antigen.

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