Medicine & Health

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  • (2006) Hitchins, Megan; Suter, C; Wong, Jenny; Cheong, Kay; Hawkins, Nicholas; Leggett, B; Scott, R; Spigelman, Allan; Tomlinson, Ian; Martin, David; Ward, Robyn
    Journal Article

  • (2004) Jackson, Katherine; Gaeta, Bruno; Sewell, William; Collins, Andrew
    Journal Article
    BACKGROUND: Immunoglobulin rearrangement involves random and imprecise processes that act to both create and constrain diversity. Two such processes are the loss of nucleotides through the action of unknown exonuclease(s) and the addition of P nucleotides. The study of such processes has been compromised by difficulties in reliably aligning immunoglobulin genes and in the partitioning of nucleotides between segment ends, and between N and P nucleotides. RESULTS: A dataset of 294 human IgM sequences was created and partitioned with the aid of a probabilistic model. Non-random removal of nucleotides is seen between the three IGH gene types with the IGHV gene averaging removals of 1.2 nucleotides compared to 4.7 for the other gene ends (p < 0.001). Individual IGHV, IGHD and IGHJ gene subgroups also display statistical differences in the level of nucleotide loss. For example, within the IGHJ group, IGHJ3 has average removals of 1.3 nucleotides compared to 6.4 nucleotides for IGHJ6 genes (p < 0.002). Analysis of putative P nucleotides within the IgM and pooled datasets revealed only a single putative P nucleotide motif (GTT at the 3` D-REGION end) to occur at a frequency significantly higher then would be expected from random N nucleotide addition. CONCLUSIONS: The loss of nucleotides due to the action of exonucleases is not random, but is influenced by the nucleotide composition of the genes. P nucleotides do not make a significant contribution to diversity of immunoglobulin sequences. Although palindromic sequences are present in 10% of immunologlobulin rearrangements, most of the `palindromic` nucleotides are likely to have been inserted into the junction during the process of N nucleotide addition. P nucleotides can only be stated with confidence to contribute to diversity of less than 1% of sequences. Any attempt to identify P nucleotides in immunoglobulins is therefore likely to introduce errors into the partitioning of such sequences. [Journal Article; In English;

  • (2006) Lee, Cathryn; Gaeta, Bruno; Malming, H; Bain, Michael; Sewell, William; Collins, Andrew
    Journal Article
    We have used a bioinformatics approach to evaluate the completeness and functionality of the reported human immunoglobulin heavy-chain IGHD gene repertoire. Using the hidden Markov-model-based iHMMune-align program, 1,080 relatively unmutated heavy-chain sequences were aligned against the reported repertoire. These alignments were compared with alignments to 1,639 more highly mutated sequences. Comparisons of the frequencies of gene utilization in the two databases, and analysis of features of aligned IGHD gene segments, including their length, the frequency with which they appear to mutate, and the frequency with which specific mutations were seen, were used to determine the reliability of alignments to the less commonly seen IGHD genes. Analysis demonstrates that IGHD4-23 and IGHD5-24, which have been reported to be open reading frames of uncertain functionality, are represented in the expressed gene repertoire; however, the functionality of IGHD6-25 must be questioned. Sequence similarities make the unequivocal identification of members of the IGHD1 gene family problematic, although all genes except IGHD1-14*01 appear to be functional. On the other hand, reported allelic variants of IGHD2-2 and of the IGHD3 gene family appear to be nonfunctional, very rare, or nonexistent. Analysis also suggests that the reported repertoire is relatively complete, although one new putative polymorphism (IGHD3-10*p03) was identified. This study therefore confirms a surprising lack of diversity in the available IGHD gene repertoire, and restriction of the germline sequence databases to the functional set described here will substantially improve the accuracy of IGHD gene alignments and therefore the accuracy of analysis of the V-D-J junction.