Selection influences naive CD8+ TCR-β repertoire sharing

Hao H. Yiu, Louis N. Schoettle, Marlene Garcia-Neuer, Joseph N. Blattman, Philip L.F. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within each individual, the adaptive immune system generates a repertoire of cells expressing receptors capable of recognizing diverse potential pathogens. The theoretical diversity of the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire exceeds the actual size of the T-cell population in an individual by several orders of magnitude – making the observation of identical TCRs in different individuals extremely improbable if all receptors were equally likely. Despite this disparity between the theoretical and the realized diversity of the repertoire, these ‘public’ receptor sequences have been identified in autoimmune, cancer and pathogen interaction contexts. Biased generation processes explain the presence of public TCRs in the naive repertoire, but do not adequately explain the different abundances of these public TCRs. We investigate and characterize the distribution of genomic TCR-β sequences of naive CD8+ T cells from three genetically identical mice, comparing non-productive (non-functional sequences) and productive sequences. We find public TCR-β sequences at higher abundances compared with unshared sequences in the productive, but not in the non-productive, repertoire. We show that neutral processes such as recombination biases, codon degeneracy and generation probability do not fully account for these differences, and conclude that thymic or peripheral selection plays an important role in increasing the abundances of public TCR-β sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-475
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • TCR
  • biased recombination
  • public
  • repertoire
  • selection
  • sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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