Diversity of γδ T-cell antigens

Cell Mol Immunol. 2013 Jan;10(1):13-20. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2012.45. Epub 2012 Oct 22.


In the last two decades, it has become clear that γδ T cells recognize a diverse array of antigens including self and foreign, large and small, and peptidic and non-peptidic molecules. In this respect, γδ antigens as a whole resemble more the antigens recognized by antibodies than those recognized by αβ T cells. Because of this antigenic diversity, no single mechanism-such as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) restriction of αβ T cells-is likely to provide a basis for all observed T-cell antigen receptor (TCR)-dependent γδ T-cell responses. Furthermore, available evidence suggests that many individual γδ T cells are poly-specific, probably using different modes of ligand recognition in their responses to unrelated antigens. While posing a unique challenge in the maintenance of self-tolerance, this broad reactivity pattern might enable multiple overlapping uses of γδ T-cell populations, and thus generate a more efficient immune response.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation*
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta