Severely ill COVID-19 patients display augmented functional properties in SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD8 + T cells

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Anthony KusnadiChristian H Ottensmeier


The molecular properties of CD8 + T cells that respond to SARS-CoV-2 infection are not fully known. Here, we report on the single-cell transcriptomes of >80,000 virus-reactive CD8 + T cells from 39 COVID-19 patients and 10 healthy subjects. COVID-19 patients segregated into two groups based on whether the dominant CD8 + T cell response to SARS-CoV-2 was 'exhausted' or not. SARS-CoV-2-reactive cells in the exhausted subset were increased in frequency and displayed lesser cytotoxicity and inflammatory features in COVID-19 patients with mild compared to severe illness. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2-reactive cells in the non-exhausted subsets from patients with severe disease showed enrichment of transcripts linked to co-stimulation, pro-survival NF-κB signaling, and anti-apoptotic pathways, suggesting the generation of robust CD8 + T cell memory responses in patients with severe COVID-19 illness. CD8 + T cells reactive to influenza and respiratory syncytial virus from healthy subjects displayed polyfunctional features. Cells with such features were mostly absent in SARS-CoV-2 responsive cells from both COVID-19 patients and healthy controls non-exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Overall, our single-cell analysis revealed substantial diversity in th...Continue Reading


Nov 7, 2020·International Reviews of Immunology·Vijay Kumar

Datasets Mentioned


Methods Mentioned

Flow Cytometry

Related Concepts

Related Feeds

BioRxiv & MedRxiv Preprints

BioRxiv and MedRxiv are the preprint servers for biology and health sciences respectively, operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Here are the latest preprint articles (which are not peer-reviewed) from BioRxiv and MedRxiv.


Apoptosis is a specific process that leads to programmed cell death through the activation of an evolutionary conserved intracellular pathway leading to pathognomic cellular changes distinct from cellular necrosis