Activated Vγ9Vδ2 (γδ2) T lymphocytes that sense parasite-produced phosphoantigens are expanded in Plasmodium falciparum-infected patients. Although previous studies suggested that γδ2 T cells help control erythrocytic malaria, whether γδ2 T cells recognize infected red blood cells (iRBCs) was uncertain. Here we show that iRBCs stained for the phosphoantigen sensor butyrophilin 3A1 (BTN3A1). γδ2 T cells formed immune synapses and lysed iRBCs in a contact, phosphoantigen, BTN3A1 and degranulation-dependent manner, killing intracellular parasites.
In malaria, rosetting is described as a phenomenon where an infected erythrocyte (IRBC) is attached to uninfected erythrocytes (URBC). In some studies, rosetting has been associated with malaria pathogenesis. Here, we have identified a new type of rosetting. Using a step-by-step approach, we identified IGFBP7, a protein secreted by monocytes in response to parasite stimulation, as a rosette-stimulator for Plasmodium falciparum- and P. vivax-IRBC. IGFBP7-mediated rosette-stimulation was rapid yet reversible.