A cell atlas of human thymic development defines T cell repertoire formation
ABSTRACT: We performed single-cell RNA-sequencing to create a cell census of the human thymus during development, early childhood and adult life. We sampled 15 embryonic and fetal thymi spanning thymic developmental stages between 7 post-conception weeks (PCW) to 17 PCW, and 9 postnatal thymi from paediatric and adult samples. We compared the cellular composition and T cell differentiation within human and mouse thymus using newly generated and repository mouse datasets. Finally, we investigated the bias in the recombination and selection of human versus mouse TCR repertoires.
The thymus provides a nurturing environment for the differentiation and selection of T cells, a process orchestrated by their interaction with multiple thymic cell types. We used single-cell RNA sequencing to create a cell census of the human thymus across the life span and to reconstruct T cell differentiation trajectories and T cell receptor (TCR) recombination kinetics. Using this approach, we identified and located in situ CD8αα+ T cell populations, thymic fibroblast subtypes, and activated ...[more]
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