Transcriptional programming and T cell receptor repertoires distinguish human lung and lymph node memory T cells

Commun Biol. 2019 Nov 13:2:411. doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0657-2. eCollection 2019.


Antigen-specific memory T cells persist for years after exposure to a pathogen and provide effective recall responses. Many memory T cell subsets have been identified and differ in abundance throughout tissues. This study focused on CD4 and CD8 memory T cells from paired human lung and lung draining lymph node (LDLN) samples and identified substantial differences in the transcriptional landscape of these subsets, including higher expression of an array of innate immune receptors in lung T cells which were further validated by flow cytometry. Using T cell receptor analysis, we determined the clonal overlap between memory T cell subsets within the lung and within the LDLN, and this was greater than the clonal overlap observed between memory T cell subsets compared across tissues. Our results suggest that lung and LDLN memory T cells originate from different precursor pools, recognize distinct antigens and likely have separate roles in immune responses.

Keywords: Immunogenetics; Immunological memory; Mucosal immunology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Ontology
  • Genes, T-Cell Receptor*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • V(D)J Recombination


  • Biomarkers