Mucosal-associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells are an innate-like T cell subset that recognize a broad array of microbial pathogens, including respiratory pathogens. Here we investigate the transcriptional profile of MAIT cells localized to the human lung, and postulate that MAIT cells may play a role in maintaining homeostasis at this mucosal barrier. Using the MR1/5-OP-RU tetramer, we identified MAIT cells and non-MAIT CD8+ T cells in lung tissue not suitable for transplant from human donors. We used RNA-sequencing of MAIT cells compared to non-MAIT CD8+ T cells to define the transcriptome of MAIT cells in the human lung. We show that, as a population, lung MAIT cells are polycytotoxic, secrete the directly antimicrobial molecule IL-26, express genes associated with persistence, and selectively express cytokine and chemokine- related molecules distinct from other lung-resident CD8+ T cells, such as interferon-γ- and IL-12- receptors. These data highlight MAIT cells’ predisposition to rapid pro-inflammatory cytokine responsiveness and antimicrobial mechanisms in human lung tissue, concordant with findings of blood-derived counterparts, and support a function for MAIT cells as early sensors in the defense of respiratory barrier function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)