Alloimmune T cells are central mediators of rejection and graft-versus-host disease in both solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Unique among immune responses in terms of its strength and diversity, the T cell alloresponse reflects extensive genetic polymorphisms between allogeneic donors and recipients, most prominently within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which encodes human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) in humans. The repertoire of alloreactive T cell clones is distinct for every donor-recipient pair and includes potentially thousands of unique HLA/peptide specificities. The extraordinary magnitude of the primary alloresponse and diversity of the T cell population mediating it have presented technical challenges to its study in humans. High-throughput T cell receptor sequencing approaches have opened up new possibilities for tackling many fundamental questions about this important immunologic phenomenon.
Susan DeWolf, Megan Sykes