Dynamic MAIT cell response with progressively enhanced innateness during acute HIV-1 infection

Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 14;11(1):272. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13975-9.


Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cell loss in chronic HIV-1 infection is a significant insult to antimicrobial immune defenses. Here we investigate the response of MAIT cells during acute HIV-1 infection utilizing the RV217 cohort with paired longitudinal pre- and post-infection samples. MAIT cells are activated and expand in blood and mucosa coincident with peak HIV-1 viremia, in a manner associated with emerging microbial translocation. This is followed by a phase with elevated function as viral replication is controlled to a set-point level, and later by their functional decline at the onset of chronic infection. Interestingly, enhanced innate-like pathways and characteristics develop progressively in MAIT cells during infection, in parallel with TCR repertoire alterations. These findings delineate the dynamic MAIT cell response to acute HIV-1 infection, and show how the MAIT compartment initially responds and expands with enhanced function, followed by progressive reprogramming away from TCR-dependent antibacterial responses towards innate-like functionality.

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.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cohort Studies
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Interferon Regulatory Factors / genetics
  • Interferon Regulatory Factors / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells / immunology*
  • Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells / metabolism
  • Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells / microbiology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Transcriptome
  • Viremia / immunology*


  • Biomarkers
  • CD14 protein, human
  • Interferon Regulatory Factors
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • interferon regulatory factor-4
  • C-Reactive Protein