Function of novel human T-cell subsets in host defence


  • Prof Paul Klenerman

    University of Oxford

Project summary

The immune system of the gut and the liver are finely tuned to respond rapidly to dangerous infections, but to tolerate normal commensals and food. Among the lymphocyte populations involved in such host defence in humans are newly defined subsets of T cells with unconventional functions. The focus of Professor Klenerman’s studies are two subsets of related CD8+ T cells which both express the cell surface receptor CD161, including a group of cells with antibacterial responsiveness designated mucosal-associated invariant T cells. The aim of this work is to define what the functionality of these cells is in normal tissues, and to what extent it may be modulated in infectious and inflammatory disease, including viral infections such as chronic hepatitis. Since these cell types are a dominant tissue-resident population, these studies look to define their role in normal host defence and in disease pathogenesis, offering routes for intervention.