Large-Scale Analysis of 2,152 Dataset Reveals Key Features of B Cell Biology and the Antibody Repertoire
76 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2019
Date Written: Septemper 1, 2019
Antibody repertoire sequencing (Ig-seq) has been widely used in studying humoral responses, with promising results. However, the promise of Ig-seq has not yet been fully realized, and key features of the antibody repertoire remain elusive or controversial. To clarify these key features, we analyzed 2,152 high-quality heavy chain antibody repertoires, representing 582 donors and a total of 360 million clones. Our study revealed that individuals exhibit very similar gene usage patterns for germline V, D, and J genes and that 53 core V genes contribute to more than 99% of the heavy chain repertoire. We further found that genetic background is sufficient but not necessary to determine usage of V, D, and J genes. Although gene usage pattern is not affected by age, we observed a significant sex preference for 24 V genes, 9 D genes and 5 J genes, but found no positional bias for V-D and D-J recombination. In addition, we found that the number of observed clones that were shared between any two repertoires followed a linear model and noted that the mutability of hot/cold spots and single nucleotides within antibody genes suggested a strand-specific somatic hypermutation mechanism. This population-level analysis resolves some critical characteristics of the antibody repertoire and thus may serve as a reference for research aiming to unravel B cell-related biology or diseases. The metrics revealed here will be of significant value to the large cadre of scientists who study the antibody repertoire.
Keywords: B-Cell Biology, Antibody Repertoire, Large-Scale Analysis, High-Throughput Sequencing, Ig-Seq
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