Tracking phenotypically and functionally distinct T cell subsets via T cell repertoire diversity
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T cell receptor (TCR) diversity influences both the protective capacity of CD8+ T cells and the subversion of immune control that leads to viral escape. The spectrum of TCR selection and maintenance has implications for improving the functional efficacy of T cell responsiveness and effector function. We are using the cutting edge single-cell PCR technology to understand the factors that determine diversity of T cells responding to a particular antigen. This is critical to our understanding of antiviral immunity. Furthermore, based on the specific TCR signatures of CD8+ T cells at different stages of viral infection, we are able to track distinct subsets of effector and memory CD8+ T cells. Based on the expression of markers such as CD62L, IL-7R, KLRG-1, CD27 and CD43, we aim to understand the fate of particular T cell clones expressing different phenotypic and/or functional characteristics during the immune response. This allows us to make a thorough dissection of antiviral immunity at the clonal level.
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