SARS-CoV-2 Epitopes Are Recognized by a Public and Diverse Repertoire of Human T Cell Receptors

Alina S. Shomuradova, Murad S. Vagida, Savely A. Sheetikov, Ksenia V. Zornikova, Dmitry Kiryukhin, Aleksei Titov, Iuliia O. Peshkova, Alexandra Khmelevskaya, Dmitry V. Dianov, Maria Malasheva, Anton Shmelev, Yana Serdyuk, Dmitry V. Bagaev, Anastasia Pivnyuk, Dmitrii S. Shcherbinin, Alexandra V. Maleeva, Naina T. Shakirova, Artem Pilunov, Dmitry B. Malko, Ekaterina G. KhamaganovaBella Biderman, Alexander Ivanov, Mikhail Shugay, Grigory A. Efimov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the hallmarks of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is critical for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. We assessed antibody and T cell reactivity in convalescent COVID-19 patients and healthy donors sampled both prior to and during the pandemic. Healthy donors examined during the pandemic exhibited increased numbers of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells, but no humoral response. Their probable exposure to the virus resulted in either asymptomatic infection without antibody secretion or activation of preexisting immunity. In convalescent patients, we observed a public and diverse T cell response to SARS-CoV-2 epitopes, revealing T cell receptor (TCR) motifs with germline-encoded features. Bulk CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses to the spike protein were mediated by groups of homologous TCRs, some of them shared across multiple donors. Overall, our results demonstrate that the T cell response to SARS-CoV-2, including the identified set of TCRs, can serve as a useful biomarker for surveying antiviral immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1257.e5
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • clonal structure
  • COVID-19
  • HLA-A∗02:01
  • MHC
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike
  • T cell epitopes
  • T cell receptor
  • T cell response
  • TCR sequencing


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