Bias in the αβ T-cell repertoire: implications for disease pathogenesis and vaccination

Immunol Cell Biol. 2011 Mar;89(3):375-87. doi: 10.1038/icb.2010.139. Epub 2011 Feb 8.


The naïve T-cell repertoire is vast, containing millions of unique T-cell receptor (TCR) structures. Faced with such diversity, the mobilization of TCR structures from this enormous pool was once thought to be a stochastic, even chaotic, process. However, steady and systematic dissection over the last 20 years has revealed that this is not the case. Instead, the TCR repertoire deployed against individual antigens is routinely ordered and biased. Often, identical and near-identical TCR repertoires can be observed across different individuals, suggesting that the system encompasses an element of predictability. This review provides a catalog of αβ TCR bias by disease and by species, and discusses the mechanisms that govern this inherent and widespread phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / metabolism
  • Communicable Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity / metabolism
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / genetics
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / immunology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / chemistry
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Vaccination*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta