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Identification of Variable and Joining germline genes and alleles for Rhesus macaque from B-cell receptor repertoires

By Wei Zhang, Xinyue Li, Longlong Wang, Jianxiang Deng, Liya Lin, Lei Tian, Jinghua Wu, Huanming Yang, Jian Wang, Ping Qiu, Tong-Ming Fu, Nitin K Saksena, I-Ming Wang, Xiao Liu

Posted 29 Jan 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/254599 (published DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1800342)

The Rhesus macaque is a valuable preclinical animal model to estimate vaccine effectiveness, and is also important for understanding antibody maturation and B-cell repertoire evolution responding to vaccination; however, incomplete mapping of rhesus immunoglobulin germline genes hinders the research efforts. To address this deficiency, we sequenced B-cell receptor (BCR) repertoires of 75 India Rhesus macaques. Using a bioinformatic method that has been validated with BCR repertoire analysis of three human donors, we were able to infer rhesus Variable (V) and Joint(J) germline alleles, identifying a total of 122 V and 20 J germline alleles. Importantly, 91 V and 13 J alleles were novel, and 40 V and 13 J genes were found at a novel genome region that has not been previously recorded. The novelty of these newly identified alleles was supported by two observations. Firstly, 50 V and 5 J novel alleles were observed in whole genome sequencing data of 10 Rhesus macaques. Secondly, using alignment reference including the novel alleles, the mutation rate of rearranged repertoires was significant declined in 9 other irrelevant samples, and all our identified novel V and J alleles were 100% identity mapped by rearranged repertoire data. These newly identified novel alleles, along with previous reported alleles, provide an important reference for future investigations of rhesus immune repertoire evolution, in response to vaccination or infection. In addition, the method outlined in our study offered an example to future efforts in identifying novel immunoglobulin alleles.

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