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    Tracking TCRβ Sequence Clonotype Expansions during Antiviral Therapy Using High-Throughput Sequencing of the Hypervariable Region

    Robinson, Mark W. and Hughes, Joseph and Wilkie, Gavin S. and Swann, Rachael and Barclay, Stephen T. and Mills, Peter R. and Patel, Arvind H. and Thomson, Emma C. and McLauchlan, John (2016) Tracking TCRβ Sequence Clonotype Expansions during Antiviral Therapy Using High-Throughput Sequencing of the Hypervariable Region. Frontiers in Immunology, 7. ISSN 1664-3224

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    To maintain a persistent infection viruses such as hepatitis C virus (HCV) employ a range of mechanisms that subvert protective T cell responses. The suppression of antigen-specific T cell responses by HCV hinders efforts to profile T cell responses during chronic infection and antiviral therapy. Conventional methods of detecting antigen-specific T cells utilize either antigen stimulation (e.g., ELISpot, proliferation assays, cytokine production) or antigen-loaded tetramer staining. This limits the ability to profile T cell responses during chronic infection due to suppressed effector function and the requirement for prior knowledge of antigenic viral peptide sequences. Recently, high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies have been developed for the analysis of T cell repertoires. In the present study, we have assessed the feasibility of HTS of the TCRβ complementarity determining region (CDR)3 to track T cell expansions in an antigen-independent manner. Using sequential blood samples from HCV-infected individuals undergoing antiviral therapy, we were able to measure the population frequencies of >35,000 TCRβ sequence clonotypes in each individual over the course of 12 weeks. TRBV/TRBJ gene segment usage varied markedly between individuals but remained relatively constant within individuals across the course of therapy. Despite this stable TRBV/TRBJ gene segment usage, a number of TCRβ sequence clonotypes showed dramatic changes in read frequency. These changes could not be linked to therapy outcomes in the present study; however, the TCRβ CDR3 sequences with the largest fold changes did include sequences with identical TRBV/TRBJ gene segment usage and high junction region homology to previously published CDR3 sequences from HCV-specific T cells targeting the HLA-B*0801-restricted (1395)HSKKKCDEL(1403) and HLA-A*0101-restricted (1435)ATDALMTGY(1443) epitopes. The pipeline developed in this proof of concept study provides a platform for the design of future experiments to accurately address the question of whether T cell responses contribute to SVR upon antiviral therapy. This pipeline represents a novel technique to analyze T cell dynamics in situations where conventional antigen-dependent methods are limited due to suppression of T cell functions and highly diverse antigenic sequences.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Tracking; TCRβ; Sequence Clonotype; Expansions; Antiviral Therapy; High-Throughput Sequencing; Hypervariable Region;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Biology
    Item ID: 12656
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Mark Robinson
    Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2020 10:02
    Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Immunology
    Publisher: Frontiers Media
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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