CD27 is a thymic determinant of the balance between interferon-gamma- and interleukin 17-producing gammadelta T cell subsets

Nat Immunol. 2009 Apr;10(4):427-36. doi: 10.1038/ni.1717. Epub 2009 Mar 8.


The production of cytokines such as interferon-gamma and interleukin 17 by alphabeta and gammadelta T cells influences the outcome of immune responses. Here we show that most gammadelta T lymphocytes expressed the tumor necrosis factor receptor family member CD27 and secreted interferon-gamma, whereas interleukin 17 production was restricted to CD27(-) gammadelta T cells. In contrast to the apparent plasticity of alphabeta T cells, the cytokine profiles of these distinct gammadelta T cell subsets were essentially stable, even during infection. These phenotypes were established during thymic development, when CD27 functions as a regulator of the differentiation of gammadelta T cells at least in part by inducing expression of the lymphotoxin-beta receptor and genes associated with trans-conditioning and interferon-gamma production. Thus, the cytokine profiles of peripheral gammadelta T cells are predetermined mainly by a mechanism involving CD27.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD27 Ligand / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology*
  • Lymphoid Progenitor Cells / immunology*
  • Lymphotoxin beta Receptor / immunology
  • Malaria, Cerebral / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plasmodium berghei
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7 / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7 / immunology*


  • CD27 Ligand
  • Interleukin-17
  • Lymphotoxin beta Receptor
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7
  • Interferon-gamma