SARS-CoV-2-Specific T Cells Exhibit Unique Features Characterized by Robust Helper Function, Lack of Terminal Differentiation, and High Proliferative Potential

Neidleman, bioRxiv (2020) - PMID: 32577663

Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools


Convalescing COVID-19 patients mount robust T cell responses against SARS-CoV-2, suggesting an important role for T cells in viral clearance. To date, the phenotypes of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells remain poorly defined. Using 38-parameter CyTOF, we phenotyped longitudinal specimens of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from four individuals who recovered from mild COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cells were exclusively Th1 cells, and predominantly Tcm with phenotypic features of robust helper function. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells were predominantly atypical Temra cells in a state of less terminal differentiation and therefore capable of expansion. Subsets of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells exhibit features of being long-lived and capable of homeostatic proliferation consistent with their persistence for over two months. Our results suggest that long-lived and robust T cell immunity is generated following natural SARS-CoV-2 infection, and support an important role for SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in host control of COVID-19.

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