Location and length distribution of somatic hypermutation-associated DNA insertions and deletions reveals regions of antibody structural plasticity.

Briney BS, Willis JR, Crowe JE
Genes Immun. 2012 13 (7): 523-9

PMID: 22717702 · PMCID: PMC3449029 · DOI:10.1038/gene.2012.28

Following the initial diversity generated by V(D)J recombination, somatic hypermutation is the principal mechanism for producing further antibody repertoire diversity in antigen-experienced B cells. While somatic hypermutation typically results in single-nucleotide substitutions, the infrequent incorporation of genetic insertions and deletions has also been associated with the somatic hypermutation process. We used high-throughput antibody sequencing to determine the sequence of thousands of antibody genes containing somatic hypermutation-associated insertions and deletions (SHA indels), which revealed significant differences between the location of SHA indels and somatic mutations. Further, we identified a cluster of insertions and deletions in the antibody framework 3 region, which corresponds to the hypervariable region 4 (HV4) in T-cell receptors. We propose that this HV4-like region, identified by SHA indel analysis, represents a region of under-appreciated affinity maturation potential. Finally, through the analysis of both location and length distribution of SHA indels, we have determined regions of structural plasticity within the antibody protein.

MeSH Terms (9)

Binding Sites High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing Humans Immunoglobulin G Immunoglobulin M INDEL Mutation Protein Structure, Tertiary Sequence Analysis, DNA Somatic Hypermutation, Immunoglobulin

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