MR1 displays the microbial metabolome driving selective MR1-restricted T cell receptor usage

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Science Immunology  13 Jul 2018:
Vol. 3, Issue 25, eaao2556
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aao2556

A broader repertoire

A subset of T cells can detect microbial ligands displayed by MR1, a nonconventional MHC molecule. MR1 is known to present metabolites from microbes like Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but the breadth of the MR1 ligandome is not well understood. Harriff et al. use mass spectrometry and molecular networking to identify MR1-presented ligands from two divergent microbes, Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium smegmatis. They observed that MR1 can present a surprisingly broad array of ligands for both microbes, and ligands can be distinguished by different TCRs on MR1-restricted T cells and can have inhibitory or activating effects. These data broaden the understanding of MR1 as a critical molecule for presenting microbial ligands to the immune system.

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