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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.02636

Tissue adaptation of gamma delta T cells in epithelial and mucosal barriers

  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Stony Brook University, United States

Epithelial and mucosal barriers are critical interfaces physically separating the body from the outside environment and are the tissues most exposed to microorganisms and potential inflammatory agents. The integrity of these tissues requires fine tuning of the local immune system to enable the efficient elimination of invasive pathogens while simultaneously preserving a beneficial relationship with commensal organisms and preventing autoimmunity. Although they only represent a small fraction of circulating and lymphoid T cells,  T cells form a substantial population at barrier sites and even outnumber conventional  T cells in some tissues. After their egress from the thymus, several  T cell subsets naturally establish residency in predetermined mucosal and epithelial locations, as exemplified by the restricted location of murine V5+ and V3V1+ T cell subsets to the intestinal epithelium and epidermis, respectively. More recently, a growing body of studies have shown that  T cells form long-lived memory populations upon local inflammation or bacterial infection, some of which permanently populate the affected tissues after pathogen clearance or resolution of inflammation. Natural and induced resident  T cells have been implicated in many beneficial processes such as tissue homeostasis and pathogen control, but their presence may also exacerbate local inflammation under certain circumstances. Further understanding of the biology and role of these unconventional resident T cells in homeostasis and disease may shed light on potentially novel vaccines and therapies.

Keywords: adaptive gamma delta T cells, innate gamma delta T cells, memory gamma delta T cells, resident gamma delta T cells, barrier infections

Received: 05 Sep 2018; Accepted: 26 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Carmen Gerlach, Karolinska Institutet (KI), Sweden

Reviewed by:

Tara M. Strutt, University of Central Florida, United States
Julie Ribot, Instituto de Medicina Molecular (IMM), Portugal  

Copyright: © 2018 Sheridan, Khairallah and Chu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Brian S. Sheridan, Stony Brook University, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Stony Brook, United States, brian.sheridan@stonybrook.edu