Adoptive transfer of phosphoantigen-specific γδ T cell subset attenuates mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in nonhuman primates

Arwa Qaqish, Dan Huang, Crystal Y. Chen, Zhuoran Zhang, Richard Wang, Shengpu Li, Enzhuoa Yang, Yang Lu, Michelle H. Larsen, William R. Jacobs, Lixia Qian, James Frencher, Ling Shen, Zheng W. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The dominant Vγ2Vγ2 T cell subset recognizes phosphoantigen and exists only in humans and nonhuman primates. Despite the discovery of γ δ T cells >30 y ago, a proof-of-concept study has not been done to prove the principle that the Vγ2Vδ2 T cell subset is protective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other infections. In this study, we used an adoptive cell-transfer strategy to define the protective role of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells in a primate tuberculosis (TB) model. Vγ2Vδ2 T cells for adoptive transfer displayed central/effector memory and mounted effector functions, including the production of anti-M. tuberculosis cytokines and inhibition of intracellular mycobacteria. They also expressed CXCR3/CCR5/LFA-1 trafficking/tissue-resident phenotypes and consistently trafficked to the airway, where they remained detectable from 6 h through 7 d after adoptive transfer. Interestingly, the test group of macaques receiving transfer of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells at weeks 1 and 3 after high-dose (500 CFU) M. tuberculosis infection exhibited significantly lower levels of M. tuberculosis infection burdens in lung lobes and extrapulmonary organs than did the control groups receiving PBLs or saline. Consistently, adoptive transfer of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells attenuated TB pathology and contained lesions primarily in the infection site of the right caudal lung lobe, with no or reduced TB dissemination to other lobes, spleen, or liver/kidney; in contrast, the controls showed widespread TB dissemination. The proof-of-concept finding supports the view that the dominant Vγ2Vγ2 T cell subset may be included in the rational design of a TB vaccine or host-directed therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4753-4763
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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