Supplementary Material for: Inconclusive Evidence for or against Positive Antigen Selection in the Shaping of Human Immunoglobulin E Repertoires: A Call for New Approaches

2013-01-22T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Levin M. Ohlin M.
<b><i>Background:</i></b> The mechanisms driving the development of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody repertoires are a matter of debate. Alternatives to the classical view on antibody development, involving somatic mutation and antigen-driven selection of high-affinity variants in germinal centers, have been proposed. <b><i>Methods:</i></b> We have re-analyzed the pattern of mutations in previously isolated and characterized human clonally unrelated IgE-encoding transcripts using the validated focused binomial methodology to find evidence in such genes of antigen-specific selection. <b><i>Results:</i></b> As expected there is a selection against replacement mutations in IgE framework regions. In contrast, in all examined cases but one (assessing IgE repertoires of parasite-infected individuals) there was no evidence in favor of either positive or negative selection in complementarity determining regions. Importantly, however, the validated method also failed to detect selection for replacement mutations in two, non-IgE, hypermutated antibody populations targeting tetanus toxoid and vaccinia virus, respectively. <b><i>Conclusions:</i></b> Current methodology is unable to define with certainty, using commonly assessed IgE repertoire sizes, whether antigen selection is or is not a major driving force in the establishment of human IgE. New approaches are needed to address this matter.