Parallel T-cell cloning and deep sequencing of human MAIT cells reveal stable oligoclonal TCRβ repertoire

Nat Commun. 2014 May 15;5:3866. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4866.


Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are abundant in humans and recognize conserved bacterial antigens derived from riboflavin precursors, presented by the non-polymorphic MHC class I-like molecule MR1. Here we show that human MAIT cells are remarkably oligoclonal in both the blood and liver, display high inter-individual homology and exhibit a restricted length CDR3β domain of the TCRVβ chain. We extend this analysis to a second sub-population of MAIT cells expressing a semi-invariant TCR conserved between individuals. Similar to 'conventional' MAIT cells, these lymphocytes react to riboflavin-synthesizing microbes in an MR1-restricted manner and infiltrate solid tissues. Both MAIT cell types release Th0, Th1 and Th2 cytokines, and sCD40L in response to bacterial infection, show cytotoxic capacity against infected cells and promote killing of intracellular bacteria, thus suggesting important protective and immunoregulatory functions of these lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Gene Rearrangement, beta-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor*
  • Genes, T-Cell Receptor alpha / genetics*
  • Genes, T-Cell Receptor beta / genetics*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / metabolism*
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE56055
  • SRA/SRP040254