Dynamics of TCR repertoire and T cell function in COVID-19 convalescent individuals

Lingjie Luo, Wenhua Liang, Jianfeng Pang, Gang Xu, Yingying Chen, Xinrong Guo, Xin Wang, Yi Zhao, Yangdian Lai, Yang Liu, Bin Li, Bing Su, Shuye Zhang, Michal Baniyash, Lei Shen, Lei Chen, Yun Ling, Ying Wang, Qiming Liang, Hongzhou Lu*Zheng Zhang*, Feng Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


SARS-CoV-2 outbreak has been declared by World Health Organization as a worldwide pandemic. However, there are many unknowns about the antigen-specific T-cell-mediated immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we present both single-cell TCR-seq and RNA-seq to analyze the dynamics of TCR repertoire and immune metabolic functions of blood T cells collected from recently discharged COVID-19 patients. We found that while the diversity of TCR repertoire was increased in discharged patients, it returned to basal level ~1 week after becoming virus-free. The dynamics of T cell repertoire correlated with a profound shift of gene signatures from antiviral response to metabolism adaptation. We also demonstrated that the top expanded T cell clones (~10% of total T cells) display the key anti-viral features in CD8+ T cells, confirming a critical role of antigen-specific T cells in fighting against SARS-CoV-2. Our work provides a basis for further analysis of adaptive immunity in COVID-19 patients, and also has implications in developing a T-cell-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number89
JournalCell Discovery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Sep 2021

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