April 17, 2023  |  Immunogenomics + HLA

FLAIRR-Seq: A Method for Single-Molecule Resolution of Near Full-Length Antibody H Chain Repertoires

Authors: Easton E. Ford, David Tieri, Oscar L. Rodriguez, Nancy J. Francoeur, Juan Soto, Justin T. Kos, Ayelet Peres, William S. Gibson, Catherine A. Silver, Gintaras Deikus, Elizabeth Hudson, Cassandra R. Woolley, Noam Beckmann, Alexander Charney, Thomas C. Mitchell, Gur Yaari, Robert P. Sebra, Corey T. Watson, Melissa L. Smith

Current Adaptive Immune Receptor Repertoire sequencing (AIRR-seq) using short-read sequencing strategies resolve expressed Ab transcripts with limited resolution of the C region. In this article, we present the near-full-length AIRR-seq (FLAIRR-seq) method that uses targeted amplification by 5′ RACE, combined with single-molecule, real-time sequencing to generate highly accurate (99.99%) human Ab H chain transcripts. FLAIRR-seq was benchmarked by comparing H chain V (IGHV), D (IGHD), and J (IGHJ) gene usage, complementarity-determining region 3 length, and somatic hypermutation to matched datasets generated with standard 5′ RACE AIRR-seq using short-read sequencing and full-length isoform sequencing. Together, these data demonstrate robust FLAIRR-seq performance using RNA samples derived from PBMCs, purified B cells, and whole blood, which recapitulated results generated by commonly used methods, while additionally resolving H chain gene features not documented in IMGT at the time of submission. FLAIRR-seq data provide, for the first time, to our knowledge, simultaneous single-molecule characterization of IGHV, IGHD, IGHJ, and IGHC region genes and alleles, allele-resolved subisotype definition, and high-resolution identification of class switch recombination within a clonal lineage. In conjunction with genomic sequencing and genotyping of IGHC genes, FLAIRR-seq of the IgM and IgG repertoires from 10 individuals resulted in the identification of 32 unique IGHC alleles, 28 (87%) of which were previously uncharacterized. Together, these data demonstrate the capabilities of FLAIRR-seq to characterize IGHV, IGHD, IGHJ, and IGHC gene diversity for the most comprehensive view of bulk-expressed Ab repertoires to date.

Journal: The Journal of Immunology
Year: 2023

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