Analysis of the role of HLA-type on T-cell state in Covid-19 infection

Study code

Lead researcher
Soumya Raychaudhuri

Study type
Data only

Institution or company
Brigham and Women's Hopsital US

Researcher type

Speciality area
Infection, Genomics and Rare Diseases


T-cells are a special part of the immune system that patrol the body looking for foreign invaders such as viruses. If they find them, they trigger an immune response to fight them off. The human immune system uses genes called “Major Histocompatibility Complexes” or MHC to display proteins on the surface of cells for T-cells to find using a special MHC scanner gene called a T-cell receptor. We want to better understand how differences in MHC genes between people influence their ability to respond to infections including COVID-19 and how it shapes the set of T-cell receptors that are present in a person. We will use the data from the single-cell COVID-19 dataset to figure out which versions of the MHC genes each person has and will see if we can relate that to the versions of the T-cell receptors they have. This can teach us about how T-cell receptors bind to proteins displayed on MHC genes which will help scientists to better understand how our immune systems find and fight off viruses and other foreign invaders.