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Nature. 1990 Aug 9;346(6284):572-4.

Specific recognition of staphylococcal enterotoxin A by human T cells bearing receptors with the V gamma 9 region.

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Department of Immunohematology and Bloodbank, University Hospital, Leiden, The Netherlands.


T cells bearing the alpha beta receptor can specifically react with target cells coated with staphylococcal enterotoxin and expressing major histocompatibility complex class II molecules; these responses depend on which variable region (V) of the receptor's beta-subunit is used. We have now examined whether a similar situation exists for human T cells bearing the gamma delta receptor. We found that reactivity to staphylococcal enterotoxin A is strictly dependent on the presence of the V gamma 9 variable region in the gamma delta T-cell receptor (TCR). These cytotoxic responses required the expression of HLA class II molecules by the target cell and could be inhibited by anti-gamma delta TCR and by anti-HLA-class-II monoclonal antibodies. In contrast to alpha beta TCR+ cell clones, no proliferative response of V gamma 9+ T-cell clones towards stimulator cells coated with enterotoxin A was observed in vitro. These results indicate that the gamma delta TCR repertoire might be influenced by enterotoxin A produced during staphylococcal infections in vivo. This could provide a molecular basis for the observation that V gamma 9+ T cells form the large majority of peripheral gamma delta TCR+ cells but only a small proportion of thymic gamma delta TCR+ cells.

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