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bioRxiv Preprint

T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires are critical for antiviral immunity. Determining the TCR repertoires composition, diversity, and dynamics and how they change during viral infection can inform the molecular specificity of viral infection such as SARS-CoV-2. To determine signatures associated with COVID-19 disease severity, here we performed a large-scale analysis of over 4.7 billion sequences across 2,130 TCR repertoires from COVID-19 patients and healthy donors. TCR repertoire analyses from these data identified and characterized convergent COVID-19 associated CDR3 gene usages, specificity groups, and sequence patterns. T cell clonal expansion was found to be associated with upregulation of T cell effector function, TCR signaling, NF-kB signaling, and Interferon-gamma signaling pathways. Machine learning approaches accurately predicted disease severity for patients based on TCR sequence features, with certain high-power models reaching near-perfect AUROC scores across various predictor permutations. These analyses provided an integrative, systems immunology view of T cell adaptive immune responses to COVID-19.

Park, J.; Lee, K.; Lam, S.; Chen, S.