The joining of V and J gene segments creates antibody diversity.
ABSTRACT The variable regions of mouse kappa (kappa) chains are coded for by multiple variable (V) gene segments and multiple joining (J) gene segments. The V kappa gene segments code for residues 1 to 95; the J kappa gene segments code for residues 96 to 108 (refs 1-3). This gene organisation is similar to that encoding the V lambda regions. Diversity in V kappa regions arises from several sources: (1) there are multiple germ-line V kappa gene segments and J kappa gene segments; (2) combinatorial joining of V kappa gene segments with different germline J kappa gene segments; and possibly, (3) somatic point mutation, as postulated for V lambda gene segments. Also, from a comparison of the number of germ-line J kappa gene segments and amino acid sequences, it has been suggested that J kappa region sequences may be determined by the way V kappa and J kappa gene segments are joined. This report supports this model by directly associating various J kappa sequences with given J kappa gene segments.
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ABSTRACT: We surveyed genetic variation in alr2, an allodeterminant of the colonial hydroid Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus. We generated cDNA from a sample of 239 Hydractinia colonies collected at Lighthouse Point, Connecticut, and identified 473 alr2 alleles, 198 of which were unique. Rarefaction analysis suggested that the sample was near saturation. Most alleles were rare, with 86% occurring at frequencies of 1% or less. Alleles were highly variable, diverging on average by 18% of the amino acids in a predicted extracellular domain of the molecule. Analysis of 152 full-length alleles confirmed the existence of two structural types, defined by exons 4-8 of the gene. Several residues of the predicted immunoglobulin superfamily-like domains display signatures of positive selection. We also identified 77 unique alr2 pseudogene sequences from 85 colonies. Twenty-seven of these sequences matched expressed alr2 sequences from other colonies. This observation is consistent with pseudogenes contributing to alr2 diversification through sequence donation. A more limited collection of animals was made from a distant, relict population of H. symbiolongicarpus. Sixty percent of the unique sequences identified in this sample were found to match sequences from the Lighthouse Point population. The large number of alr2 alleles, their degree of divergence, the predominance of rare alleles in the population, their persistence over broad spatial and temporal scales, and the signatures of positive selection in multiple residues of the putative recognition domain paint a consistent picture of negative-frequency-dependent selection operating in this system. The genetic diversity observed at alr2 is comparable to that of the most highly polymorphic genetic systems known to date.Molecular Biology and Evolution 08/2012; · 14.31 Impact Factor
Article: The generation of antibody diversity[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: By their nature, antibody molecules exhibit a wide range of binding specificities. The antigen-binding properties of the antibody reside entirely in the amino-terminal portion of the molecule, termed the variable domain. Structurally, the combining site specificity is determined by the amino-acid residues within 6 short lengths, 3 each in the heavy and light chains, of unusually variable sequence. The hypervariability of 2 of these lengths arises from the somatic recombination of short gene segments into a single stretch of mRNA which encodes the entire variable region of 1 polypeptide chain. For example, a V gene segment that codes for most of the variable portion of a light chain, can combine with one of a number of much shorter J gene segments to create the complete variable region gene. In heavy chain genes, a third element, the D gene segment, increases the potential for diversity even further. A mechanism has been proposed by which variability occurs at the point where 2 gene segments join. Thus, a large part of the generation of antibody diversity occurs in the somatic recombination of small genetic elements.American Journal of Hematology 07/1982; 13(1):91 - 99. · 3.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Detecting selection in B cell Ig sequences is critical to understanding affinity maturation and can provide insights into Ag-driven selection in normal and pathologic immune responses. The most common sequence-based methods for detecting selection analyze the ratio of replacement and silent mutations using a binomial statistical analysis. However, these approaches have been criticized for low sensitivity. An alternative method is based on the analysis of lineage trees constructed from sets of clonally related Ig sequences. Several tree shape measures have been proposed as indicators of selection that can be statistically compared across cohorts. However, we show that tree shape analysis is confounded by underlying experimental factors that are difficult to control for in practice, including the sequencing depth and number of generations in each clone. Thus, although lineage tree shapes may reflect selection, their analysis alone is an unreliable measure of in vivo selection. To usefully capture the information provided by lineage trees, we propose a new method that applies the binomial statistical framework to mutations identified based on lineage tree structure. This hybrid method is able to detect selection with increased sensitivity in both simulated and experimental data sets. We anticipate that this approach will be especially useful in the analysis of large-scale Ig sequencing data sets generated by high-throughput sequencing technologies.The Journal of Immunology 12/2013; · 5.36 Impact Factor