Dr., Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics and FU Berlin (2012)
Diplom, Freie Universitat Berlin (2008)
Mark Davis, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
The adaptive immune system's capability to protect the body requires a highly diverse lymphocyte antigen receptor repertoire. However, the influence of individual genetic and epigenetic differences on these repertoires is not typically measured. By leveraging the unique characteristics of B, CD4(+) T and CD8(+) T-lymphocyte subsets from monozygotic twins, we quantify the impact of heritable factors on both the V(D)J recombination process and on thymic selection. We show that the resulting biases in both V(D)J usage and N/P addition lengths, which are found in naïve and antigen experienced cells, contribute to significant variation in the CDR3 region. Moreover, we show that the relative usage of V and J gene segments is chromosomally biased, with ∼1.5 times as many rearrangements originating from a single chromosome. These data refine our understanding of the heritable mechanisms affecting the repertoire, and show that biases are evident on a chromosome-wide level.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms11112
View details for PubMedID 27005435
The immune system protects us from foreign substances or pathogens by generating specific antibodies. The variety of immunoglobulin (Ig) paratopes for antigen recognition is a result of the V(D)J rearrangement mechanism, while a fast and efficient immune response is mediated by specific immunoglobulin isotypes obtained through class switch recombination (CSR). To get a better understanding on how antibody-based immune protection works and how it changes with age, the interdependency between these two parameters need to be addressed. Here, we have performed an in depth analysis of antibody repertoires of 14 healthy donors representing different gender and age groups. For this task, we developed a unique pyrosequencing approach, which is able to monitor the expression levels of all immunoglobulin V(D)J recombinations of all isotypes including subtypes in an unbiased and quantitative manner. Our results show that donors have individual immunoglobulin repertoires and cannot be clustered according to V(D)J recombination patterns, neither by age nor gender. However, after incorporating isotype-specific analysis and considering CSR information into hierarchical clustering the situation changes. For the first time the donors cluster according to age and separate into young adults and elderly donors (>50). As a direct consequence, this clustering defines the onset of immune senescence at the age of fifty and beyond. The observed age-dependent reduction of CSR ability proposes a feasible explanation why reduced efficacy of vaccination is seen in the elderly and implies that novel vaccine strategies for the elderly should include the "Golden Agers".
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0049774
View details for Web of Science ID 000312376100028
View details for PubMedID 23226220
Compartmentalization of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) reduces artifacts, especially when complex libraries are amplified. It allows clonal amplification of templates from complex mixtures in a bias-free manner. Here we describe a rapid, straightforward, and easy protocol for PCR in a water-in-oil emulsion (ePCR) including sample recovery by DNA purification. Furthermore, no special laboratory equipment is needed and inexpensive components are used. Therefore, our flexible protocol allows ePCR to be readily implemented in daily routine experiments for a broad range of applications.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ab.2010.11.029
View details for Web of Science ID 000286711300023
View details for PubMedID 21111698
For studying human antibody variable (V)-gene usage in any group of individuals or for the generation of recombinant human antibody libraries for phage display, quality and yield of the amplified V-gene repertoire is of utmost importance. Key parameters affecting the amplification of full antibody repertoires are V-gene specific primer design, complementary DNA (cDNA) synthesis from total RNA extracts of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and ultimately the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In this work we analysed all these factors; we performed a detailed bioinformatic analysis of V-gene specific primers based on VBASE2 and evaluated the influence of different commercially available reverse transcriptases on cDNA synthesis and polymerases on PCR efficiency. The primers presented cover near to 100% of all functional and putatively functional V-genes in VBASE2 and the final protocol presents an optimised combination of commercial enzymes and reaction additives for cDNA synthesis and PCR conditions for V-gene amplification. Finally, applying this protocol in combination with different immunoglobulin (Ig) chain specific reverse primers we were able to amplify rearranged antibody genes of different isotypes under investigation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.nbt.2010.01.001
View details for Web of Science ID 000279133600006
View details for PubMedID 20083243