Systematic characterization and comparative analysis of the rabbit immunoglobulin repertoire

Jason J. Lavinder, Kam Hon Hoi, Sai T. Reddy, Yariv Wine, George Georgiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Rabbits have been used extensively as a model system for the elucidation of the mechanism of immunoglobulin diversification and for the production of antibodies. We employed Next Generation Sequencing to analyze Ig germline V and J gene usage, CDR3 length and amino acid composition, and gene conversion frequencies within the functional (transcribed) IgG repertoire of the New Zealand white rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Several previously unannotated rabbit heavy chain variable (VH) and light chain variable (VL) germline elements were deduced bioinformatically using multidimensional scaling and k-means clustering methods. We estimated the gene conversion frequency in the rabbit at 23% of IgG sequences with a mean gene conversion tract length of 59±36 bp. Sequencing and gene conversion analysis of the chicken, human, and mouse repertoires revealed that gene conversion occurs much more extensively in the chicken (frequency 70%, tract length 79±57 bp), was observed to a small, yet statistically significant extent in humans, but was virtually absent in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere101322
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyHR0011-10-0052
Defense Threat Reduction AgencyHDTRA1-12-COO07


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