The genomes of classical inbred mouse strains include genes derived from all three major subspecies of the house mouse, Mus musculus. We recently posited that genetic diversity in the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) gene loci of C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice reflects differences in subspecies origin. To investigate this hypothesis, we conducted high-throughput sequencing of IGH gene rearrangements to document IGH variable (IGHV), joining (IGHJ) and diversity (IGHD) genes in four inbred wild-derived mouse strains (CAST/EiJ, LEWES/EiJ, MSM/MsJ and PWD/PhJ) and a single disease model strain (NOD/ShiLtJ), collectively representing genetic backgrounds of several major mouse subspecies. A total of 341 germline IGHV sequences were inferred in the wild-derived strains, including 247 not curated in the international ImMunoGeneTics information system. By contrast, 83/84 inferred NOD IGHV genes had previously been observed in C57BL/6 mice. Variability among the strains examined was observed for only a single IGHJ gene, involving a description of a novel allele. By contrast, unexpected variation was found in the IGHD gene loci, with four previously unreported IGHD gene sequences being documented. Very few IGHV sequences of C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice were shared with strains representing major subspecies, suggesting that their IGH loci may be complex mosaics of genes of disparate origins. This suggests a similar level of diversity is likely present in the IGH loci of other classical inbred strains. This must now be documented if we are to properly understand interstrain variation in models of antibody-mediated disease.
Keywords: IGHD; IGHJ; IGHV; AIRR-seq; mouse immunoglobulin; wild-derived.
© 2019 Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology Inc.