PerspectiveImmunology

Immune cells for microbiota surveillance

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  25 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6464, pp. 419-420
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz4014

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

The immune system has coevolved with the microbial community that inhabits body surfaces and mucosal barriers. Although this commensal microbiota is critical for maintaining healthy host physiology, it can cause pathology when the body surface barriers are breached. How the immune system maintains this homeostasis with microbiota remains poorly understood. Specialized immune cells, called mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, specifically recognize and respond to microbial metabolites and are thought to be important in microbial defense, although their function remains unclear. On pages 445 and 494 of this issue, Constantinides et al. (1) and Legoux et al. (2), respectively, show that commensal bacteria control development of MAIT cells in the thymus and their expansion within mucosal tissues. The development of MAIT cells depends on a specific developmental window of early-life exposure to defined microbial communities, and a distinct MAIT cell subset in the skin promotes wound healing.

View Full Text