Precursors of human CD4+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes identified by single-cell transcriptome analysis

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Science Immunology  19 Jan 2018:
Vol. 3, Issue 19, eaan8664
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aan8664

Committing to cytotoxicity

CD4+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CD4-CTLs) were initially identified in patients with chronic viral infections, including dengue virus (DENV) infection, and these cells have been associated with protection in the context of severe DENV infection. Here, Patil et al. have carried out single RNA-seq and sequenced the T cell receptors (TCRs) of CD4+ T cells from human blood to identify precursors that give rise to CD4-CTLs. They report that CD4-CTLs undergo significant clonal expansion and that CD4-CTL precursor cells are characterized by high expression of interleukin-7 receptor. By defining the gene expression signature of CD4-CTLs and their precursors, their studies should facilitate improved vaccine design in the context of chronic viral infections.

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