New insights into the regulation of γδ T cells by BTN3A and other BTN/BTNL in tumor immunity

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Recent findings in the immunology field have pointed out the emergent role of butyrophilins/butyrophilin-like molecules (BTN/BTNL in human, Btn/Btnl in mouse) in the modulation of γδ T cells. As long as the field develops exponentially, new relationships between certain γδ T cell subsets, on one hand, and their BTN/BTNL counterparts mainly present on epithelial and tumor cells, on the other, are described in the scientific literature. Btnl1/Btnl6 in mice and BTNL3/BTNL8 in humans regulate the homing and maturation of Vγ7+ and Vγ4+ T cells to the gut epithelium. Similarly, Skint-1 has shown to shape the dendritic epidermal T cells repertoire and their activation levels in mice. We and others have identified BTN3A proteins are the key mediators of phosphoantigen sensing by human Vγ9Vd2 T cells. Here, we first synthesize the modulation of specific γδ T cell subsets by related BTN/BTNL molecules, in human and mice. Then, we focus on the role of BTN3A in the activation of Vγ9Vd2 T cells, and we highlight the recent advances in the understanding of the expression, regulation, and function of BTN3A in tumor immunity. Hence, recent studies demonstrated that several signals induced by cancer cells or their microenvironment can regulate the expression of BTN3A. Moreover, antibodies targeting BTN3A have shown in vitro and in vivo efficacy in human tumors such as acute myeloid leukemia or pancreatic cancer. We thus finally discuss how these findings could help develop novel γδ T cell-based immunotherapeutical approaches.




Blazquez, J. L., Benyamine, A., Pasero, C., & Olive, D. (2018, July 11). New insights into the regulation of γδ T cells by BTN3A and other BTN/BTNL in tumor immunity. Frontiers in Immunology. Frontiers Media S.A.

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