Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Martin Davey

Technical Summary

technical imageOur current understanding of T-cell mediated immunity has been established through the intense study of “conventional” αβ T-cells and the αβ T-cell receptor’s (TCR) remarkable ability to detect pathogen infected cells by recognising foreign peptide antigens presented by major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs). Despite human γδ T-cells being implicated in immunity to infectious diseases, the role of human γδ T-cells and the mechanisms they use to detect infection are largely unclear. γδ T-cells are defined as an innate-like T-cell population, operating outside of peptide/MHC recognition, comprising restricted γδTCR chain usage from birth and rapidly responding to TCR independent stimuli.

In a series of studies, I have developed our understanding of an “unconventional” adaptive immunobiology followed by human γδ T-cells. I have found that the γδ T-cell repertoire can undergo post-natal clonal γδTCR selection in the blood and liver, and can recognise non-peptide antigens in vastly different ways to αβ T-cell receptors. These features contrast markedly with that of an innate-T-cell population, indicating that the γδTCR repertoire may be shaped by microbial exposure to promote immunity.

To explore these facets of the immune system my lab uses cutting-edge immunological techniques, such as spectral flow cytometry, single cell genomics and immune repertoire sequencing, to understand the chain of events that drive the immunobiology of human γδ T-cells and their contribution to maintaining tissue integrity and combating infectious pathogens.

The ultimate aim of my labs work is to establish our ability to design new vaccine strategies to manipulate the γδ T-cell-mediated immune response to promote protection from infectious diseases.

Selected publications:

1. McMurray JL, von Borstel A, Taher TE., Syrimi E, Taylor GS., Sharif M, Rossjohn J, Remmerswaal, EBM, Bemelman FJ, Vieira Braga FA, Chen X, Teichmann SA, Mohammed F, Berry AA, Lyke KE, Williamson KC, Stubbington MJT, Davey MS*, Willcox CR* & Willcox BE*. Transcriptional profiling of human Vδ1 T cells reveals a pathogen-driven adaptive differentiation program. 2022. Cell Reports. 39 (8): 110858.

2. von Borstel A, Chevour P, Arsovski D, Krol JMM, Howson LJ, Berry AA, Day Cl, Ogongo P, Ernst, JD, Nomicos EYH, Boddey JA, Giles EM, Rossjohn J, Traore B, Lyke KE, Williamson KC, Crompton PD & Davey MS. Repeated Plasmodium falciparum infection in humans drives the clonal expansion of an adaptive γδ T cell repertoire. 2021. Science Translational Medicine. 13, 622, abe7430.

3. Rice MT, von Borstel A, Chevour P, Awad W, Howson LJ, Littler DR, Gherardin NA, Le Nours, J, Giles EM, Berry R, Godfrey DI, Davey MS*, Rossjohn J* & Gully BS*. Recognition of the antigen-presenting molecule MR1 by a Vδ3+ γδ T cell receptor. 2021. PNAS. 118, 49, e2110288118.

4. Davey MS, Willcox CR, Baker AT, Hunter S, Willcox BE. Recasting human Vδ1+ T cells in an adaptive role. 2018. Trends in Immunology. 39 (6):446-459.

5. Davey MS, Willcox CR, Hunter S, Kasatskaya SA, Remmerswaal EBM, Salim M, et al. The human Vδ2(+) T-cell compartment comprises distinct innate-like Vγ9(+) and adaptive Vγ9(-) subsets. 2018. Nature Communications. 9(1):1760.

6. Hunter S*, Willcox CR*, Davey MS*, Kasatskaya SA, Jeffery HC, Chudakov DM, Oo YH and Willcox BE. Human liver infiltrating γδ T cells are composed of clonally expanded circulating and tissue-resident populations. 2018. Journal of Hepatology. 69 (3): 654-665.

7. Davey MS, Willcox CR, Joyce SP, Ladell K, Kasatskaya SA, McLaren JE, et al. Clonal selection in the human Vδ1 T cell repertoire indicates γδ TCR-dependent adaptive immune surveillance. 2017. Nature Communications. 8:14760.