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Common clonal origin of central and resident memory T cells following skin immunization.

Gaide, O;Emerson, RO;Jiang, X;Gulati, N;Nizza, S;Desmarais, C;Robins, H;Krueger, JG;Clark, RA;Kupper, TS;

Central memory T (TCM) cells in lymph nodes (LNs) and resident memory T (TRM) cells in peripheral tissues have distinct roles in protective immunity. Both are generated after primary infections, but their clonal origins have been unclear. To address this question, we immunized mice through the skin with a protein antigen, a chemical hapten, or a non-replicating poxvirus. We then analyzed antigen-activated T cells from different tissues using high-throughput sequencing (HTS) of the gene encoding the T cell receptor (TCR) -chain (Trb, also known as Tcrb) using CDR3 sequences to simultaneously track thousands of unique T cells. For every abundant TRM cell clone generated in the skin, an abundant TCM cell clone bearing the identical TCR was present in the LNs. Thus, antigen-reactive skin TRM and LN TCM cell clones were derived from a common naive T cell precursor after skin immunization, generating overlapping TCR repertoires. Although they bore the same TCR, TRM cells mediated rapid contact hypersensitivity responses, whereas TCM cells mediated delayed and attenuated responses. Studies in human subjects confirmed the generation of skin TRM cells in allergic contact dermatitis. Thus, immunization through skin simultaneously generates skin TRM and LN TCM cells in similar numbers from the same naive T cells.