Single-Cell RNA-Seq Mapping of Human Thymopoiesis Reveals Lineage Specification Trajectories and a Commitment Spectrum in T Cell Development

Academic Article


  • The challenges in recapitulating in vivo human T cell development in laboratory models have posed a barrier to understanding human thymopoiesis. Here, we used single-cell RNA sequencing (sRNA-seq) to interrogate the rare CD34+ progenitor and the more differentiated CD34– fractions in the human postnatal thymus. CD34+ thymic progenitors were comprised of a spectrum of specification and commitment states characterized by multilineage priming followed by gradual T cell commitment. The earliest progenitors in the differentiation trajectory were CD7– and expressed a stem-cell-like transcriptional profile, but had also initiated T cell priming. Clustering analysis identified a CD34+ subpopulation primed for the plasmacytoid dendritic lineage, suggesting an intrathymic dendritic specification pathway. CD2 expression defined T cell commitment stages where loss of B cell potential preceded that of myeloid potential. These datasets delineate gene expression profiles spanning key differentiation events in human thymopoiesis and provide a resource for the further study of human T cell development.
  • Published In

  • Immunity  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Le J; Park JE; Ha VL; Luong A; Branciamore S; Rodin AS; Gogoshin G; Li F; Loh YHE; Camacho V
  • Start Page

  • 1105
  • End Page

  • 1118.e9
  • Volume

  • 52
  • Issue

  • 6