Novel Method for High-Throughput Full-Length IGHV-D-J Sequencing of the Immune Repertoire from Bulk B-Cells with Single-Cell Resolution

Front Immunol. 2017 Sep 14;8:1157. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01157. eCollection 2017.


Efficient and accurate high-throughput DNA sequencing of the adaptive immune receptor repertoire (AIRR) is necessary to study immune diversity in healthy subjects and disease-related conditions. The high complexity and diversity of the AIRR coupled with the limited amount of starting material, which can compromise identification of the full biological diversity makes such sequencing particularly challenging. AIRR sequencing protocols often fail to fully capture the sampled AIRR diversity, especially for samples containing restricted numbers of B lymphocytes. Here, we describe a library preparation method for immunoglobulin sequencing that results in an exhaustive full-length repertoire where virtually every sampled B-cell is sequenced. This maximizes the likelihood of identifying and quantifying the entire IGHV-D-J repertoire of a sample, including the detection of rearrangements present in only one cell in the starting population. The methodology establishes the importance of circumventing genetic material dilution in the preamplification phases and incorporates the use of certain described concepts: (1) balancing the starting material amount and depth of sequencing, (2) avoiding IGHV gene-specific amplification, and (3) using Unique Molecular Identifier. Together, this methodology is highly efficient, in particular for detecting rare rearrangements in the sampled population and when only a limited amount of starting material is available.

Keywords: B lymphocytes; Illumina Miseq sequencing; VDJ rearrangement; cDNA library; immunoglobulin repertoire; next generation sequencing; unique molecular identifier.