Conserved variation: Identifying patterns of stability and variability in BCR and TCR v genes with different diversity and richness metrics

Gregory W. Schwartz, Uri Hershberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The immune system can detect most invading pathogens. The potential for detection of pathogens is dependent on the somatic diversity of the immune repertoires. While it is known that this somatic diversity is carefully generated, it is unclear how the diversity is distributed in the different genes encoding receptors of immune cells. Utilizing different metrics for richness and diversity at the level of small sequence fragments, we present here an analysis of the entire known human germline repertoire as represented by the sequences from the ImMunoGeneTics database of immune receptors. We have developed a fragment sequence quantification analysis to track variation of repertoires with different degrees of precision. Somatic diversity has previously been functionally characterized mostly by division of the V gene sequences into the more conserved and invariant framework (FR) of the receptor and more varied complementarity determining regions (CDR), that interact with the antigen. We find that CDR and FR can be explicitly identified with our sequence fragment diversity quantification technique. In terms of diversity, CDR and FR are especially distinct in B cell V genes. T cell V genes show less of the CDR/FR periodicity but are more diverse overall. Our analysis further shows that there are other areas of diversity outside the CDR and FR that are found widely dispersed in T cell receptor V genes and more tightly focused in FR1 and FR3 in the B cell receptor V genes. The diversity we observe is not dependent on allelic differences nor is this diversity segregated by individual V gene families. We would thus expect that each individual exhibit a diversity equivalent to that of the entire potential repertoire.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035005
JournalPhysical Biology
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology

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