MAIT cells and microbial immunity

Immunol Cell Biol. 2018 Jul;96(6):607-617. doi: 10.1111/imcb.12022. Epub 2018 Mar 9.


Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, the most abundant T-cell subset in humans, are increasingly being recognized for their importance in microbial immunity. MAIT cells accumulate in almost every mucosal tissue examined, including the lung, liver and intestinal tract, where they can be activated through T-cell receptor (TCR) triggering as well as cytokine stimulation in response to a host of microbial products. In this review, we specifically discuss MAIT cell responses to bacterial and fungal infections, with a focus on responses that are both MR1-dependent and -independent, the evidence for diversity in MAIT TCR usage in response to discrete microbial products, protective immunity induced by MAIT cells, and MAIT cell antimicrobial functions in the context of these infections.

Keywords: MAIT cells; MR1; antimicrobial responses; infection; mucosal immunology; unconventional T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal / immunology*
  • Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells / immunology*
  • Mycoses / immunology*