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J Immunol. 2008 Dec 1;181(11):7853-62.

TCR beta-chain sharing in human CD8+ T cell responses to cytomegalovirus and EBV.

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  • 1Complex Systems in Biology Group, Centre for Vascular Research, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia;


The CD8(+) TCR repertoires specific for many immunogenic epitopes of CMV and EBV are dominated by a few TCR clonotypes and involve public TCRs that are shared between many MHC-matched individuals. In previous studies, we demonstrated that the observed sharing of epitope-specific TCRbeta chains between individuals is strongly associated with TCRbeta production frequency, and that a process of convergent recombination facilitates the more efficient production of some TCRbeta sequences. In this study, we analyzed a total of 2836 TCRbeta sequences from 23 CMV-infected and 10 EBV-infected individuals to investigate the factors that influence the sharing of TCRbeta sequences in the CD8(+) T cell responses to two immunodominant HLA-A*0201-restricted epitopes from these viruses. The most shared TCRbeta amino acid sequences were found to have two features that indicate efficient TCRbeta production, as follows: 1) they required fewer nucleotide additions, and 2) they were encoded by a greater variety of nucleotide sequences. We used simulations of random V(D)J recombination to demonstrate that the in silico TCRbeta production frequency was predictive of the extent to which both TCRbeta nucleotide and amino acid sequences were shared in vivo. These results suggest that TCRbeta production frequency plays an important role in the interindividual sharing of TCRbeta sequences within CD8(+) T cell responses specific for CMV and EBV.

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