UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Characterization of Adaptive-like γδ T Cells in Ugandan Infants during Primary Cytomegalovirus Infection Tuengel, Jessica; Ranchal, Sanya; Maslova, Alexandra; Aulakh, Gurpreet; Papadopoulou, Maria; Drissler, Sibyl; Cai, Bing; Mohsenzadeh-Green, Cetare; Soudeyns, Hugo; Mostafavi, Sara; et al.


Gamma-delta (γδ) T cells are unconventional T cells that help control cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in adults. γδ T cells develop early in gestation, and a fetal public γδ T cell receptor (TCR) clonotype is detected in congenital CMV infections. However, age-dependent γδ T cell responses to primary CMV infection are not well-understood. Flow cytometry and TCR sequencing was used to comprehensively characterize γδ T cell responses to CMV infection in a cohort of 32 infants followed prospectively from birth. Peripheral blood γδ T cell frequencies increased during infancy, and were higher among CMV-infected infants relative to uninfected. Clustering analyses revealed associations between CMV infection and activation marker expression on adaptive-like Vδ1 and Vδ3, but not innate-like Vγ9Vδ2 γδ T cell subsets. Frequencies of NKG2C⁺CD57⁺ γδ T cells were temporally associated with the quantity of CMV shed in saliva by infants with primary infection. The public γδ TCR clonotype was only detected in CMV-infected infants <120 days old and at lower frequencies than previously described in fetal infections. Our findings support the notion that CMV infection drives age-dependent expansions of specific γδ T cell populations, and provide insight for novel strategies to prevent CMV transmission and disease.

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