T follicular helper (Tfh) cells, essential for germinal center reactions, are not identical, with different phenotypes reported. Whether, when, and how they generate memory cells is still poorly understood. Here, through single-cell RNA-sequencing analysis of CXCR5+Bcl6+ Tfh cells generated under different conditions, we discovered, in addition to PD-1hi effector Tfh cells, a CD62L+PD1low subpopulation. CD62L-expressing Tfh cells developed independently from PD-1+ cells and not in direct contact with B cells. More importantly, CD62L+ Tfh cells expressed memory- and stemness-associated genes, and with better superior long-term survival, they readily generated PD-1hi cells in the recall response. Finally, KLF2 and IL7R, also highly expressed by CD62L+ Tfh cells, were required to regulate their development. Our work thus demonstrates a novel Tfh memory-like cell subpopulation, which may benefit our understanding of immune responses and diseases.

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