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Ligation-anchored PCR unveils immune repertoire of TCR-beta from whole blood

By Fan Gao, Kai Wang

Posted 11 Jul 2014
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/007062 (published DOI: 10.1186/s12896-015-0153-9)

Background As one of the genetic mechanisms for adaptive immunity, V(D)J recombination generates an enormous repertoire of T-cell receptors (TCRs). With the development of high-throughput sequencing techniques, systematic exploration of V(D)J recombination becomes possible. Multiplex PCR method has been previously developed to assay immune repertoire, however the usage of primer pools has inherent bias in target amplification. In our study, we developed a ligation-anchored PCR method to unbiasedly amplify the repertoire. Results By utilizing a universal primer paired with a single primer targeting the conserved constant region, we amplified TCR-beta (TRB) variable regions from total RNA extracted from blood. Next-generation sequencing libraries were then prepared for Illumina HiSeq 2500 sequencer, which provided 151 bp read length to cover the entire V(D)J recombination region. We evaluated this approach on blood samples from patients with malignant and benign meningiomas. Mapping of sequencing data showed 64% to 91% of mapped TCRV-containing reads belong to TRB subtype. An increased usage of TRBV29-1 was observed in malignant meningiomas. Also distinct signatures were identified from CDR3 sequence logos, with predominant subset as 42 nt for benign and 45 nt for malignant samples, respectively. Conclusions In summary, we report an integrative approach to monitor immune repertoire in a systematic manner.

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