Landscape and age dynamics of immune cells in the Egyptian rousette bat
Bats harbor high-impact zoonotic viruses often in the absence of disease manifestation. This restriction and disease tolerance possibly rely on specific immunological features. In-depth molecular characterization of cellular immunity and imprinting of age on leukocyte compartments remained unexplored in bats. We employ single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) and establish immunostaining panels to characterize the immune cell landscape in juvenile, subadult, and adult Egyptian rousette bats (ERBs). Transcriptomic and flow cytometry data reveal conserved subsets and substantial enrichments of CD79a+ B cells and CD11b+ T cells in juvenile animals, whereas neutrophils, CD206+ myeloid cells, and CD3+ T cells dominate as bats reach adulthood. Despite differing frequencies, phagocytosis of circulating and tissue-resident myeloid cells and proliferation of peripheral and splenic lymphocytes are analogous in juvenile and adult ERBs. We provide a comprehensive map of the immune landscape in ERBs and show age-imprinted resilience progression and find that variability in cellular immunity only partly recapitulates mammalian archetypes.