Studies on mucosal-associated invariant T cells (MAITs) in nonhuman primates (NHP), a physiologically relevant model of human immunity, are handicapped due to a lack of macaque MAIT-specific reagents. Here we show that while MR1 ligand-contact residues are conserved between human and multiple NHP species, three T-cell receptor contact-residue mutations in NHP MR1 diminish binding of human MR1 tetramers to macaque MAITs. Construction of naturally loaded macaque MR1 tetramers facilitated identification and characterization of macaque MR1-binding ligands and MAITs, both of which mirrored their human counterparts. Using the macaque MR1 tetramer we show that NHP MAITs activated in vivo in response to both Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccination and Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. These results demonstrate that NHP and human MR1 and MAITs function analogously, and establish a preclinical animal model to test MAIT-targeted vaccines and therapeutics for human infectious and autoimmune disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy