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Immunol Cell Biol. 2018 Jul;96(6):598-606. doi: 10.1111/imcb.12039. Epub 2018 Apr 24.

Development of mucosal-associated invariant T cells.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, 3000, Australia.


Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells develop in the thymus and migrate into the periphery to become the largest antigen-specific αβ T-cell population in the human immune system. However, the frequency of MAIT cells varies widely between human individuals, and the basis for this is unclear. While MAIT cells are highly conserved through evolution and are phenotypically similar between humans and mice, they represent a much smaller proportion of total T cells in mice. In this review, we discuss how MAIT cells transition through a three-stage development pathway in both mouse and human thymus, and continue to mature and expand after they leave the thymus. Moreover, we will explore and speculate on how specific factors regulate different stages of this process.


Development of MAIT cells; T-cell receptor; mucosal-associated invariant T cells

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