The immune response to SARS-CoV-2 antigen after infection or vaccination is defined by the durable production of antibodies and T cells. Population-based monitoring typically focuses on antibody titer, but there is a need for improved characterization and quantification of T cell responses. Here, we used multimodal sequencing technologies to perform a longitudinal analysis of circulating human leukocytes collected before and after immunization with the mRNA vaccine BNT162b2. Our data indicated distinct subpopulations of CD8+ T cells, which reliably appeared 28 days after prime vaccination. Using a suite of cross-modality integration tools, we defined their transcriptome, accessible chromatin landscape and immunophenotype, and we identified unique biomarkers within each modality. We further showed that this vaccine-induced population was SARS-CoV-2 antigen-specific and capable of rapid clonal expansion. Moreover, we identified these CD8+ T cell populations in scRNA-seq datasets from COVID-19 patients and found that their relative frequency and differentiation outcomes were predictive of subsequent clinical outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy