The manner in which a sub-population of human T cell ‘see’ the world is described in a report published online in Nature Immunology this week.
Gennaro De Libero and colleagues studied Vgamma9-Vdelta2 T cells, which are a sub-population of white blood cell that can respond dramatically to certain antigens such as bacterial metabolites as well as host-derived compounds. They found that a ubiquitously expressed host molecule called Butyrophilin 3A1 can bind to and present specific stimulatory molecules to Vgamma9-Vdelta2 T cells. The authors further went on to determine the 3-dimensional structure of Butyrophilin 3A1 presenting its stimulatory cargo to Vgamma9-Vdelta2 T cells.
This study therefore identifies a new antigen-presenting molecule and the structural basis of its recognition by an important population of anti-bacterial T cell.