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      The Shape of the Lymphocyte Receptor Repertoire: Lessons from the B Cell Receptor

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          Both the B cell receptor (BCR) and the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires are generated through essentially identical processes of V(D)J recombination, exonuclease trimming of germline genes, and the random addition of non-template encoded nucleotides. The naïve TCR repertoire is constrained by thymic selection, and TCR repertoire studies have therefore focused strongly on the diversity of MHC-binding complementarity determining region (CDR) CDR3. The process of somatic point mutations has given B cell studies a major focus on variable (IGHV, IGLV, and IGKV) genes. This in turn has influenced how both the naïve and memory BCR repertoires have been studied. Diversity (D) genes are also more easily identified in BCR VDJ rearrangements than in TCR VDJ rearrangements, and this has allowed the processes and elements that contribute to the incredible diversity of the immunoglobulin heavy chain CDR3 to be analyzed in detail. This diversity can be contrasted with that of the light chain where a small number of polypeptide sequences dominate the repertoire. Biases in the use of different germline genes, in gene processing, and in the addition of non-template encoded nucleotides appear to be intrinsic to the recombination process, imparting “shape” to the repertoire of rearranged genes as a result of differences spanning many orders of magnitude in the probabilities that different BCRs will be generated. This may function to increase the precursor frequency of naïve B cells with important specificities, and the likely emergence of such B cell lineages upon antigen exposure is discussed with reference to public and private T cell clonotypes.

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          Most cited references 109

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          Design and standardization of PCR primers and protocols for detection of clonal immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor gene recombinations in suspect lymphoproliferations: report of the BIOMED-2 Concerted Action BMH4-CT98-3936.

          In a European BIOMED-2 collaborative study, multiplex PCR assays have successfully been developed and standardized for the detection of clonally rearranged immunoglobulin (Ig) and T-cell receptor (TCR) genes and the chromosome aberrations t(11;14) and t(14;18). This has resulted in 107 different primers in only 18 multiplex PCR tubes: three VH-JH, two DH-JH, two Ig kappa (IGK), one Ig lambda (IGL), three TCR beta (TCRB), two TCR gamma (TCRG), one TCR delta (TCRD), three BCL1-Ig heavy chain (IGH), and one BCL2-IGH. The PCR products of Ig/TCR genes can be analyzed for clonality assessment by heteroduplex analysis or GeneScanning. The detection rate of clonal rearrangements using the BIOMED-2 primer sets is unprecedentedly high. This is mainly based on the complementarity of the various BIOMED-2 tubes. In particular, combined application of IGH (VH-JH and DH-JH) and IGK tubes can detect virtually all clonal B-cell proliferations, even in B-cell malignancies with high levels of somatic mutations. The contribution of IGL gene rearrangements seems limited. Combined usage of the TCRB and TCRG tubes detects virtually all clonal T-cell populations, whereas the TCRD tube has added value in case of TCRgammadelta(+) T-cell proliferations. The BIOMED-2 multiplex tubes can now be used for diagnostic clonality studies as well as for the identification of PCR targets suitable for the detection of minimal residual disease.
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            Somatic generation of antibody diversity.

             S. Tonegawa (1983)
            In the genome of a germ-line cell, the genetic information for an immunoglobulin polypeptide chain is contained in multiple gene segments scattered along a chromosome. During the development of bone marrow-derived lymphocytes, these gene segments are assembled by recombination which leads to the formation of a complete gene. In addition, mutations are somatically introduced at a high rate into the amino-terminal region. Both somatic recombination and mutation contribute greatly to an increase in the diversity of antibody synthesized by a single organism.
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              Phenotypic analysis of antigen-specific T lymphocytes.

              Identification and characterization of antigen-specific T lymphocytes during the course of an immune response is tedious and indirect. To address this problem, the peptide-major histocompatability complex (MHC) ligand for a given population of T cells was multimerized to make soluble peptide-MHC tetramers. Tetramers of human lymphocyte antigen A2 that were complexed with two different human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-derived peptides or with a peptide derived from influenza A matrix protein bound to peptide-specific cytotoxic T cells in vitro and to T cells from the blood of HIV-infected individuals. In general, tetramer binding correlated well with cytotoxicity assays. This approach should be useful in the analysis of T cells specific for infectious agents, tumors, and autoantigens.

                Author and article information

                1School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales , Sydney, NSW, Australia
                Author notes

                Edited by: Ramit Mehr, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

                Reviewed by: Ramit Mehr, Bar-Ilan University, Israel; Gur Yaari, Yale University, USA; Nir Friedman, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

                *Correspondence: Katherine J. L. Jackson, School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia e-mail: katherine.jackson@

                This article was submitted to B Cell Biology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

                Front Immunol
                Front Immunol
                Front. Immunol.
                Frontiers in Immunology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                02 September 2013
                : 4
                Copyright © 2013 Jackson, Kidd, Wang and Collins.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Figures: 3, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 110, Pages: 12, Words: 11280
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