Affordable Access

Responses of Bovine WC1+ γδ T Cells to Protein and Nonprotein Antigens of Mycobacterium bovis

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Biology
  • Medicine


WC1+ γδ T cells of Mycobacterium bovis-infected cattle are highly responsive to M. bovis sonic extract (MBSE). In mycobacterial infections of other species, γδ T cells have been shown to respond to protein and nonprotein antigens, but the bovine WC1+ γδ T-cell antigenic targets within MBSE require further definition in terms of the dominance of protein versus nonprotein components. The present study sought to characterize the WC1+ γδ T-cell antigenic targets, together with the role of interleukin-2 (IL-2), in the context of M. bovis infection. This was achieved by testing crude and defined antigens to assess protein versus nonprotein recognition by WC1+ γδ T cells in comparison with CD4+ αβ T cells. Both cell types proliferated strongly in response to MBSE, with CD4+ T cells being the major producers of gamma interferon (IFN-γ). However, enzymatic digestion of the protein in MBSE removed its ability to stimulate CD4+ T-cell responses, whereas some WC1+ γδ T-cell proliferation remained. The most antigenic protein inducing proliferation and IFN-γ secretion in WC1+ γδ T-cell cultures was found to be ESAT-6, which is a potential novel diagnostic reagent and vaccine candidate. In addition, WC1+ γδ T-cell proliferation was observed in response to stimulation with prenyl pyrophosphate antigens (isopentenyl pyrophosphate and monomethyl phosphate). High levels of cellular activation (CD25 expression) resulted from MBSE stimulation of WC1+ γδ T cells from infected animals. A similar degree of activation was induced by IL-2 alone, but for WC1+ γδ T-cell division IL-2 was found to act only as a costimulatory signal, enhancing antigen-driven responses. Overall, the data indicate that protein antigens are important stimulators of WC1+ γδ T-cell proliferation and IFN-γ secretion in M. bovis infection, with nonprotein antigens inducing significant proliferation. These findings have important implications for diagnostic and vaccine development.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.