Contribution of alpha/beta and gamma/delta T lymphocytes to immunity against Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette Guérin: studies with T cell receptor-deficient mutant mice

Eur J Immunol. 1995 Mar;25(3):838-46. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830250331.


Mutant mice with defined T cell deficiencies were infected with Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) and the relative contribution of alpha/beta T cells and gamma/delta T cells to the host immune response was assessed. Recombinase activating gene (RAG-1)-/- mutants as well as T cell receptor (TcR) beta-/-, but not TcR-delta-/-, mutants succumbed to M. bovis BCG infection and failed to develop granulomatous lesions. Antigen-induced IFN-gamma production by spleen cells in vitro was abrogated in RAG-1-/- mutants and markedly diminished in TcR-beta-/- and TcR-delta-/- mice. Reconstitution experiments suggest that both alpha/beta and gamma/delta T cells are essential for antigen-specific IFN-gamma secretion. Our data formally prove the crucial role of alpha/beta T cells and reveal accessory functions of gamma/delta T cells in optimum immunity against M. bovis BCG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Granuloma / immunology
  • Granuloma / microbiology
  • Homeodomain Proteins*
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mycobacterium bovis / immunology*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • Spleen / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis / immunology


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • RAG-1 protein
  • Interferon-gamma