The Repertoire Dissimilarity Index as a method to compare lymphocyte receptor repertoires

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Authors Christopher R. Bolen, Florian Rubelt, Jason A. Vander Heiden, Mark M. Davis
Journal/Conference Name BMC Bioinformatics
Paper Category
Paper Abstract BackgroundThe B and T cells of the human adaptive immune system leverage a highly diverse repertoire of antigen-specific receptors to protect the human body from pathogens. The sequencing and analysis of immune repertoires is emerging as an important tool to understand immune responses, whether beneficial or harmful (in the case of autoimmunity). However, methods for studying these repertoires, and for directly comparing different immune repertoires, are lacking.ResultsIn this paper, we present a non-parametric method for directly comparing sequencing repertoires, with the goal of rigorously quantifying differences in V, D, and J gene segment utilization. This method, referred to as the Repertoire Dissimilarity Index (RDI), uses a bootstrapped subsampling approach to account for variance in sequencing depth, and, coupled with a data simulation approach, allows for direct quantification of the average variation between repertoires. We use the RDI method to recapitulate known differences in the formation of the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell repertoires, and further show that antigen-driven activation of naïve CD8+ T cells is more selective than in the CD4+ repertoire, resulting in a more specialized CD8+ memory repertoire.ConclusionsWe prove that the RDI method is an accurate and versatile method for comparisons of immune repertoires. The RDI method has been implemented as an R package, and is available for download through Bitbucket.
Date of publication 2017
Code Programming Language R
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