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Proteomic definition of human mucosal‐associated invariant T cells determines their unique molecular effector phenotype

: Bulitta, B.; Zuschratter, W.; Bernal, I.; Bruder, D.; Klawonn, F.; Bergen, Martin von; Garritsen, H.S.P.; Jänsch, L.


European Journal of Immunology 48 (2018), No.8, pp.1336-1349
ISSN: 0014-2980
ISSN: 1521-4141
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IST ()
CD8 T cell; effector protein; immunological synapse; MAIT cell; Proteomics

Mucosal‐associated invariant T cells (MAIT) constitute the most abundant anti‐bacterial CD8⁺ T‐cell population in humans. MR1/TCR‐activated MAIT cells were reported to organize cytotoxic and innate‐like responses but knowledge about their molecular effector phenotype is still fragmentary. Here, we have examined the functional inventory of human MAIT cells (CD3⁺Vα7.2⁺CD161⁺) in comparison with those from conventional non‐MAIT CD8⁺ T cells (cCD8⁺) and NK cells. Quantitative mass spectrometry characterized 5500 proteins of primary MAIT cells and identified 160 and 135 proteins that discriminate them from cCD8⁺ T cells and NK cells donor‐independently. Most notably, MAIT cells showed a unique exocytosis machinery in parallel to a proinflammatory granzyme profile with high levels of the granzymes A, K, and M. Furthermore, 24 proteins were identified with highest abundances in MAIT cells, including CD26, CD98, and L‐amino‐oxidase (LAAO). Among those, expression of granzyme K and CD98 were validated as MAIT‐specific with respect to non‐MAIT CD8⁺ effector subsets and LAAO was found to be recruited together with granzymes, perforin, and CD107a at the immunological synapse of activated MAIT cells. In conclusion, this study complements knowledge on the molecular effector phenotype of MAIT cells and suggest novel immune regulatory functions as part of their cytotoxic responses.