The innate immune cells underlying mucosal inflammatory responses and damage during acute HIV-1 infection remain incompletely understood. Here, we report a Vδ2 subset of gut-homing γδ T cells with significantly upregulated Δ42PD1 (a PD1 isoform) in acute (~20%) HIV-1 patients compared to chronic HIV-1 patients (~11%) and healthy controls (~2%). The frequency of Δ42PD1+Vδ2 cells correlates positively with plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and fatty-acid-binding protein before detectable lipopolysaccharide in acute patients. The expression of Δ42PD1 can be induced by in vitro HIV-1 infection and is accompanied by high co-expression of gut-homing receptors CCR9/CD103. To investigate the role of Δ42PD1+Vδ2 cells in vivo, they were adoptively transferred into autologous humanized mice, resulting in small intestinal inflammatory damage, probably due to the interaction of Δ42PD1 with its cognate receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). In addition, blockade of Δ42PD1 or TLR4 successfully reduced the cytokine effect induced by Δ42PD1+Vδ2 cells in vitro, as well as the mucosal pathological effect in humanized mice. Our findings have therefore uncovered a Δ42PD1–TLR4 pathway exhibited by virus-induced gut-homing Vδ2 cells that may contribute to innate immune activation and intestinal pathogenesis during acute HIV-1 infection. Δ42PD1+Vδ2 cells may serve as a target for the investigation of diseases with mucosal inflammation.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Microbiology (medical)
- Cell Biology