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Eur J Immunol. 1995 Jul;25(7):2052-8.

Human V gamma 9-V delta 2 cells are stimulated in a cross-reactive fashion by a variety of phosphorylated metabolites.

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Department of Research, University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.


Many different pathogens stimulate cells bearing the V gamma 9-V delta 2 T cell receptor (TCR), which represent the most abundant population of human gamma delta cells. The antigens responsible for the stimulation of these gamma delta cells are not well characterized. Here, we describe six non-peptidic molecules which share this property: isopentenylpyrophosphate, dimethylallylpyrophosphate, 2,3-diphosphoglyceric acid, glycerol-3-phosphoric acid, xylose-1-phosphate, and ribose-1-phosphate. All these molecules are naturally occurring metabolites in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and stimulate freshly isolated gamma delta cells from peripheral blood of different donors as well as established gamma delta clones. Comparison of their structure with that of similar but inactive molecules showed that both the number and position of the phosphate groups, as well as the residues connected with the carbon backbone are required for stimulation. The CD3-TCR complex is involved in cell triggering as shown by inhibition with anti-CD3 Fab fragments. However, all gamma delta clones were broadly cross-reactive and we could not isolate cells specific for only one ligand. The capacity of this frequent subset of gamma delta cells to recognize common bacterial metabolites confers the advantage to react rapidly to different invading pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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