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The C-type lectin CD161 is expressed by a large proportion of human T lymphocytes of all lineages, including a population known as mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells. To understand whether different T cell subsets expressing CD161 have similar properties, we examined these populations in parallel using mass cytometry and mRNA microarray approaches. The analysis identified a conserved CD161++/MAIT cell transcriptional signature enriched in CD161+CD8+ T cells, which can be extended to CD161+ CD4+ and CD161+TCRγδ+ T cells. Furthermore, this led to the identification of a shared innate-like, TCR-independent response to interleukin (IL)-12 plus IL-18 by different CD161-expressing T cell populations. This response was independent of regulation by CD161, which acted as a costimulatory molecule in the context of T cell receptor stimulation. Expression of CD161 hence identifies a transcriptional and functional phenotype, shared across human T lymphocytes and independent of both T cell receptor (TCR) expression and cell lineage.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.celrep.2014.09.045

Type

Journal article

Journal

Cell Rep

Publication Date

06/11/2014

Volume

9

Pages

1075 - 1088

Keywords

Adult, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cell Lineage, Humans, Interleukin-12, Interleukin-18, Lymphocyte Activation, NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily B, Phenotype, Principal Component Analysis, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta, T-Lymphocyte Subsets, T-Lymphocytes, Transcription, Genetic