MAIT cells are an unconventional T cell population that can be activated through both TCR-dependent and TCR-independent mechanisms. Here, we examined the impact of combinations of TCR-dependent and TCR-independent signals in human CD8+ MAIT cells. TCR-independent activation of these MAIT cells from blood and gut was maximized by extending the panel of cytokines to include TNF-superfamily member TL1A. RNA-seq experiments revealed that TCR-dependent and TCR-independent signals drive MAIT cells to exert overlapping and specific effector functions, affecting both host defense and tissue homeostasis. Although TCR triggering alone is insufficient to drive sustained activation, TCR-triggered MAIT cells showed specific enrichment of tissue-repair functions at the gene and protein levels and in in vitro assays. Altogether, these data indicate the blend of TCR-dependent and TCR-independent signaling to CD8+ MAIT cells may play a role in controlling the balance between healthy and pathological processes of tissue inflammation and repair.
Keywords: MAIT cells; TCR signaling; cytokines; effector functions; tissue repair.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.