A subset of protective γ 9δ 2 T cells is activated by novel mycobacterial glycolipid components

Mei Xia, Danny Hesser, De Prithwiraj, Isaac Sakala, Charles Spencer, Jay Kirkwood, Abate Getahun, Delphi Chatterjee, Karen Dobos, Daniel Hoft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


γ9δ2 T cells provide a natural bridge between innate and adaptive immunity, rapidly and potently respond to pathogen infection in mucosal tissues, and are prominently induced by both tuberculosis (TB) infection and bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccination. Mycobacterium-expanded γ9δ2 T cells represent only a subset of the phosphoantigen {isopentenyl pyrophosphate [IPP] and (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enylpyrophosphate [HMBPP]}-responsive γ9δ2 T cells, expressing an oligoclonal set of T cell receptor (TCR) sequences which more efficiently recognize and inhibit intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Based on this premise, we have been searching for M. tuberculosis antigens specifically capable of inducing a unique subset of mycobacterium-protective γ9δ2 T cells. Our screening strategy includes the identification of M. tuberculosis fractions that expand γ9δ2 T cells with biological functions capable of inhibiting intracellular mycobacterial replication. Chemical treatments of M. tuberculosis whole-cell lysates (MtbWL) ruled out protein, nucleic acid, and nonpolar lipids as the M. tuberculosis antigens inducing protective γ9δ2 T cells. Mild acid hydrolysis, which transforms complex carbohydrate to monomeric residues, abrogated the specific activity of M. tuberculosis whole-cell lysates, suggesting that a polysaccharide was required for biological activity. Extraction of MtbWL with chloroform-methanol-water (10:10:3) resulted in a polar lipid fraction with highly enriched specific activity; this activity was further enriched by silica gel chromatography. A combination of mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis of bioactive fractions indicated that 6-O-methylglucose-containing lipopolysaccharides (mGLP) are predominant components present in this active fraction. These results have important implications for the development of new immunotherapeutic approaches for prevention and treatment of TB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2449-2462
Number of pages14
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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