Lars Steinmetz, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
To permit the recognition of antigens, T cells generate a vast diversity of T cell receptor (TCR) sequences. Upon binding of the TCR to an antigen-MHC complex, T cells clonally expand to establish an immune response. To study antigen-specific T cell clonality, we have developed a method that allows selection of rare cells, based on RNA expression, before in-depth scRNA-seq (named SELECT-seq). We applied SELECT-seq to collect both TCR sequences and then transcriptomes from single cells of peripheral blood lymphocytes activated by a Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) lysate. TCR sequence analysis allowed us to preferentially select expanded conventional CD8+ T cells as well as invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells and mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells. The iNKT and MAIT cells have a highly similar transcriptional pattern, indicating that they carry out similar immunological functions and differ considerably from conventional CD8+ T cells. While there is no relationship between expression profiles and clonal expansion in iNKT or MAIT cells, highly expanded conventional CD8+ T cells down-regulate the interleukin 2 (IL-2) receptor alpha (IL2RA, or CD25) protein and show signs of senescence. This suggests inherent limits to clonal expansion that act to diversify the T cell response repertoire.
View details for PubMedID 30992377
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis is a model for multiple sclerosis. Here we show that induction generates successive waves of clonally expanded CD4+, CD8+ and γδ+ T cells in the blood and central nervous system, similar to gluten-challenge studies of patients with coeliac disease. We also find major expansions of CD8+ T cells in patients with multiple sclerosis. In autoimmune encephalomyelitis, we find that most expanded CD4+ T cells are specific for the inducing myelin peptide MOG35-55. By contrast, surrogate peptides derived from a yeast peptide major histocompatibility complex library of some of the clonally expanded CD8+ T cells inhibit disease by suppressing the proliferation of MOG-specific CD4+ T cells. These results suggest that the induction of autoreactive CD4+ T cells triggers an opposing mobilization of regulatory CD8+ T cells.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-019-1467-x
View details for PubMedID 31391585
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