The T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire is diverse, thus allowing recognition of a wide range of pathogens by T cells. In humans, the study of the formation of TCR repertoires is problematic because of the difficulty in performing investigations in vivo. In this issue of the JCI, Khosravi-Maharlooei and colleagues describe a new humanized mouse model that allows direct investigations on this topic. Using high-throughput and single-cell TCR–complementarity-determining region 3 β (TCR-CDR3β) sequencing, the authors were able to demonstrate that human thymic selection is a major driver of TCR sequence sharing, also implicating a preferential selection of shared cross-reactive CDR3βs during repertoire formation.
Antonio La Cava