Group 1 CD1-restricted T cells contribute to control of systemic Staphylococcus aureus infection

Lavanya Visvabharathy, Samantha Genardi, Liang Cao, Ying He, Francis Alonzo, Evgeny Berdyshev, Chyung Ru Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is the causative agent of both skin/soft tissue infections as well as invasive bloodstream infections. Though vaccines have been developed to target both humoral and T cell-mediated immune responses against SA, they have largely failed due to lack of protective efficacy. Group 1 CD1-restricted T cells recognize lipid rather than peptide antigens. Previously found to recognize lipids derived from cell wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), these cells were associated with protection against Mtb infection in humans. Using a transgenic mouse model expressing human group 1 CD1 molecules (hCD1Tg), we demonstrate that group 1 CD1-restricted T cells can recognize SA-derived lipids in both immunization and infection settings. Systemic infection of hCD1Tg mice showed that SA-specific group 1 CD1-restricted T cell response peaked at 10 days post-infection, and hCD1Tg mice displayed significantly decreased kidney pathology at this time point compared with WT control mice. Immunodominant SA lipid antigens recognized by group 1 CD1-restricted T cells were comprised mainly of cardiolipin and phosphatidyl glycerol, with little contribution from lysyl-phosphatidyl glycerol which is a unique bacterial lipid not present in mammals. Group 1 CD1-restricted T cell lines specific for SA lipids also conferred protection against SA infection in the kidney after adoptive transfer. They were further able to effectively control SA replication in vitro through direct antigen presentation by group 1 CD1-expressing BMDCs. Together, our data demonstrate a previously unknown role for group 1 CD1-restricted SA lipid-specific T cells in the control of systemic MRSA infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1008443
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Virology
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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