Sharing of T cell receptors in antigen-specific responses is driven by convergent recombination

Vanessa Venturi, Katherine Kedzierska, David Anthony Price, Peter C. Doherty, Daniel C. Douek, Stephen J. Turner, Miles P. Davenport

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115 Citations (Scopus)


Public responses where identical T cell receptors (TCRs) are clonally dominant and shared between different individuals are a common characteristic of CD8 + T cell-mediated immunity. Focusing on TCR sharing, we analyzed ≈3,400 TCR β chains (TCRβs) from mouse CD8 + T cells responding to the influenza A virus D b NP 366 and D b PA 224 epitopes. Both the "public" D b NP 366 -specific and "private" D b PA 224 -specific TCR repertoires contain a high proportion (≈36%) of shared TCRβs, although the numbers of mice sharing TCRβs in each repertoire varies greatly. Sharing of both the TCRβ amino acid and TCRβ nucleotide sequence was negatively correlated with the prevalence of random nucleotide additions in the sequence. However, the extent of TCRβ amino acid sequence sharing among mice was strongly correlated with the level of diversity in the encoding nucleotide sequences, suggesting that a key feature of public TCRs is that they can be made in a variety of ways. Using a computer simulation of random V(D)J recombination, we estimated the relative production frequencies and variety of production mechanisms for TCRβ sequences and found strong correlations with the sharing of both TCRβ amino acid sequences and TCRβ nucleotide sequences. The overall conclusion is that βconvergent recombination,β rather than a bias in recombination or subsequent selection, provides the mechanistic basis for TCR sharing between individuals responding to identical peptide plus MHC class I glycoprotein complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18691-18696
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Diversity
  • Public response
  • Repertoire
  • Selection

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