Repertoire comparison of the B-cell receptor-encoding loci in humans and rhesus macaques by next-generation sequencing.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Clinical & translational immunology, Volume 5, Issue 7, p.e93 (2016)


Rhesus macaques (RMs) are a widely used model system for the study of vaccines, infectious diseases and microbial pathogenesis. Their value as a model lies in their close evolutionary relationship to humans, which, in theory, allows them to serve as a close approximation of the human immune system. However, despite their prominence as a human surrogate model system, many aspects of the RM immune system remain ill characterized. In particular, B cell-mediated immunity in macaques has not been sufficiently characterized, and the B-cell receptor-encoding loci have not been thoroughly annotated. To address these gaps, we analyzed the circulating heavy- and light-chain repertoires in humans and RMs by next-generation sequencing. By comparing V gene segment usage, J-segment usage and CDR3 lengths between the two species, we identified several important similarities and differences. These differences were especially notable in the IgM(+) B-cell repertoire. However, the class-switched, antigen-educated B-cell populations converged on a set of similar characteristics, implying similarities in how each species responds to antigen. Our study provides the first comprehensive overview of the circulating repertoires of the heavy- and light-chain sequences in RMs, and provides insight into how they may perform as a model system for B cell-mediated immunity in humans.