[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: B cells produce a diverse antibody repertoire by undergoing gene rearrangements. Pathogen exposure induces the clonal expansion of B cells expressing antibodies that can bind the infectious agent. To assess human B cell responses to trivalent seasonal influenza and monovalent pandemic H1N1 vaccination, we sequenced gene rearrangements encoding the immunoglobulin heavy chain, a major determinant of epitope recognition. The magnitude of B cell clonal expansions correlates with an individual's secreted antibody response to the vaccine, and the expanded clones are enriched with those expressing influenza-specific monoclonal antibodies. Additionally, B cell responses to pandemic influenza H1N1 vaccination and infection in different people show a prominent family of convergent antibody heavy chain gene rearrangements specific to influenza antigens. These results indicate that microbes can induce specific signatures of immunoglobulin gene rearrangements and that pathogen exposure can potentially be assessed from B cell repertoires.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elderly humans show decreased humoral immunity to pathogens and vaccines, yet the effects of aging on B cells are not fully known. Chronic viral infection by CMV is implicated as a driver of clonal T cell proliferations in some aging humans, but whether CMV or EBV infection contributes to alterations in the B cell repertoire with age is unclear. We have used high-throughput DNA sequencing of IGH gene rearrangements to study the BCR repertoires over two successive years in 27 individuals ranging in age from 20 to 89 y. Some features of the B cell repertoire remain stable with age, but elderly subjects show increased numbers of B cells with long CDR3 regions, a trend toward accumulation of more highly mutated IgM and IgG Ig genes, and persistent clonal B cell populations in the blood. Seropositivity for CMV or EBV infection alters B cell repertoires, regardless of the individual's age: EBV infection correlates with the presence of persistent clonal B cell expansions, whereas CMV infection correlates with the proportion of highly mutated Ab genes. These findings isolate effects of aging from those of chronic viral infection on B cell repertoires and provide a baseline for understanding human B cell responses to vaccination or infectious stimuli.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · The Journal of Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The primary cause of poor outcome following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is disease recurrence. Detection of increasing minimal residual disease (MRD) following HCT may permit early intervention to prevent clinical relapse; however, MRD quantification remains an uncommon diagnostic test because of logistical and financial barriers to widespread use. Here we describe a method for quantifying CLL MRD using widely available consensus primers for amplification of all Ig heavy chain (IGH) genes in a mixture of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, followed by high-throughput sequencing (HTS) for disease-specific IGH sequence quantification. To achieve accurate MRD quantification, we developed a systematic bioinformatic methodology to aggregate cancer clone sequence variants arising from systematic and random artifacts occurring during IGH-HTS. We then compared the sensitivity of IGH-HTS, flow cytometry, and allele-specific oligonucleotide PCR for MRD quantification in 28 samples collected from 6 CLL patients following allogeneic HCT. Using amplimer libraries generated with consensus primers from patient blood samples, we demonstrate the sensitivity of IGH-HTS with 454 pyrosequencing to be 10(-5), with a high correlation between quantification by allele-specific oligonucleotide PCR and IGH-HTS (r = 0.85). From the same dataset used to quantify MRD, IGH-HTS also allowed us to profile IGH repertoire reconstitution after HCT-information not provided by the other MRD methods. IGH-HTS using consensus primers will broaden the availability of MRD quantification in CLL and other B cell malignancies, and this approach has potential for quantitative evaluation of immune diversification following transplant and nontransplant therapies.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individual variation in the Ig germline gene repertoire leads to individual differences in the combinatorial diversity of the Ab repertoire, but the study of such variation has been problematic. The application of high-throughput DNA sequencing to the study of rearranged Ig genes now makes this possible. The sequencing of thousands of VDJ rearrangements from an individual, either from genomic DNA or expressed mRNA, should allow their germline IGHV, IGHD, and IGHJ repertoires to be inferred. In addition, where previously mere glimpses of diversity could be gained from sequencing studies, new large data sets should allow the rearrangement frequency of different genes and alleles to be seen with clarity. We analyzed the DNA of 108,210 human IgH chain rearrangements from 12 individuals and determined their individual IGH genotypes. The number of reportedly functional IGHV genes and allelic variants ranged from 45 to 60, principally because of variable levels of gene heterozygosity, and included 14 previously unreported IGHV polymorphisms. New polymorphisms of the IGHD3-16 and IGHJ6 genes were also seen. At heterozygous loci, remarkably different rearrangement frequencies were seen for the various IGHV alleles, and these frequencies were consistent between individuals. The specific alleles that make up an individual's Ig genotype may therefore be critical in shaping the combinatorial repertoire. The extent of genotypic variation between individuals is highlighted by an individual with aplastic anemia who appears to lack six contiguous IGHD genes on both chromosomes. These deletions significantly alter the potential expressed IGH repertoire, and possibly immune function, in this individual.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · The Journal of Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The complex repertoire of immune receptors generated by B and T cells enables recognition of diverse threats to the host organism. In this work, we show that massively parallel DNA sequencing of rearranged immune receptor loci can provide direct detection and tracking of immune diversity and expanded clonal lymphocyte populations in physiological and pathological contexts. DNA was isolated from blood and tissue samples, a series of redundant primers was used to amplify diverse DNA rearrangements, and the resulting mixtures of barcoded amplicons were sequenced using long-read ultra deep sequencing. Individual DNA molecules were then characterized on the basis of DNA segments that had been joined to make a functional (or nonfunctional) immune effector. Current experimental designs can accommodate up to 150 samples in a single sequence run, with the depth of sequencing sufficient to identify stable and dynamic aspects of the immune repertoire in both normal and diseased circumstances. These data provide a high-resolution picture of immune spectra in normal individuals and in patients with hematological malignancies, illuminating, in the latter case, both the initial behavior of clonal tumor populations and the later suppression or re-emergence of such populations after treatment.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · Science translational medicine