# Commonality despite exceptional diversity in the baseline human antibody repertoire

Briney, Bryan; Inderbitzin, Anne; Joyce, Collin; Burton, Dennis R (2019). Commonality despite exceptional diversity in the baseline human antibody repertoire. Nature, 566(7744):393-397.

## Abstract

In principle, humans can produce an antibody response to any non-self-antigen molecule in the appropriate context. This flexibility is achieved by the presence of a large repertoire of naive antibodies, the diversity of which is expanded by somatic hypermutation following antigen exposure$^{1}$. The diversity of the naive antibody repertoire in humans is estimated to be at least 10$^{12}$ unique antibodies$^{2}$. Because the number of peripheral blood B cells in a healthy adult human is on the order of 5 × 10$^{9}$, the circulating B cell population samples only a small fraction of this diversity. Full-scale analyses of human antibody repertoires have been prohibitively difficult, primarily owing to their massive size. The amount of information encoded by all of the rearranged antibody and T cell receptor genes in one person-the 'genome' of the adaptive immune system-exceeds the size of the human genome by more than four orders of magnitude. Furthermore, because much of the B lymphocyte population is localized in organs or tissues that cannot be comprehensively sampled from living subjects, human repertoire studies have focused on circulating B cells$^{3}$. Here we examine the circulating B cell populations of ten human subjects and present what is, to our knowledge, the largest single collection of adaptive immune receptor sequences described to date, comprising almost 3 billion antibody heavy-chain sequences. This dataset enables genetic study of the baseline human antibody repertoire at an unprecedented depth and granularity, which reveals largely unique repertoires for each individual studied, a subpopulation of universally shared antibody clonotypes, and an exceptional overall diversity of the antibody repertoire.

## Abstract

In principle, humans can produce an antibody response to any non-self-antigen molecule in the appropriate context. This flexibility is achieved by the presence of a large repertoire of naive antibodies, the diversity of which is expanded by somatic hypermutation following antigen exposure$^{1}$. The diversity of the naive antibody repertoire in humans is estimated to be at least 10$^{12}$ unique antibodies$^{2}$. Because the number of peripheral blood B cells in a healthy adult human is on the order of 5 × 10$^{9}$, the circulating B cell population samples only a small fraction of this diversity. Full-scale analyses of human antibody repertoires have been prohibitively difficult, primarily owing to their massive size. The amount of information encoded by all of the rearranged antibody and T cell receptor genes in one person-the 'genome' of the adaptive immune system-exceeds the size of the human genome by more than four orders of magnitude. Furthermore, because much of the B lymphocyte population is localized in organs or tissues that cannot be comprehensively sampled from living subjects, human repertoire studies have focused on circulating B cells$^{3}$. Here we examine the circulating B cell populations of ten human subjects and present what is, to our knowledge, the largest single collection of adaptive immune receptor sequences described to date, comprising almost 3 billion antibody heavy-chain sequences. This dataset enables genetic study of the baseline human antibody repertoire at an unprecedented depth and granularity, which reveals largely unique repertoires for each individual studied, a subpopulation of universally shared antibody clonotypes, and an exceptional overall diversity of the antibody repertoire.

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