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Nature. 1989 Jul 27;340(6231):309-12.

Human gamma delta+ T cells respond to mycobacterial heat-shock protein.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Most T cells recognize antigen through the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR)alpha beta-CD3 complex on the T-cell surface. A small percentage of T cells, however, do not express alpha beta but a second type of TCR complex designated gamma delta (ref. 2). Unlike alpha beta+ lymphocytes, gamma delta+ lymphocytes do not generally express CD4 or CD8 molecules, and the nature of antigen recognition by these cells is unknown. To study antigen recognition by gamma delta+ lymphocytes we raised a gamma delta+ alpha beta- -CD4-CD8- line from an individual immune to PPD (purified protein derivative). This line showed a specific proliferative response to PPD and to a recombinant mycobacterial heat-shock protein (HSP) of relative molecular mass 65,000 (65K). The gamma delta+ line was shown to exhibit a major response to HSP in the presence of autologous antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Minor responses occurred, however, with APCs matched for some HLA class I or II antigens, whereas no response occurred with HLA-mismatched APCs. These findings, therefore, document the requirement of HSP-reactive gamma delta+ lymphocytes for histocompatible APCs.

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