Mapping the developing human immune system across organs

Science. 2022 Jun 3;376(6597):eabo0510. doi: 10.1126/science.abo0510. Epub 2022 Jun 3.


Single-cell genomics studies have decoded the immune cell composition of several human prenatal organs but were limited in describing the developing immune system as a distributed network across tissues. We profiled nine prenatal tissues combining single-cell RNA sequencing, antigen-receptor sequencing, and spatial transcriptomics to reconstruct the developing human immune system. This revealed the late acquisition of immune-effector functions by myeloid and lymphoid cell subsets and the maturation of monocytes and T cells before peripheral tissue seeding. Moreover, we uncovered system-wide blood and immune cell development beyond primary hematopoietic organs, characterized human prenatal B1 cells, and shed light on the origin of unconventional T cells. Our atlas provides both valuable data resources and biological insights that will facilitate cell engineering, regenerative medicine, and disease understanding.

MeSH terms

  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Immune System* / embryology
  • Lymphocytes* / metabolism
  • Monocytes* / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • RNA-Seq
  • Single-Cell Analysis