n410847SE Academic Article uri icon


  • Ab diversity in most vertebrates results from the assortment of amino acid side chains on CDR loops formed through V(D)J recombination. Cows (Bos taurus) have a low combinatorial diversity potential because of a small number of highly homologous V, D, and J gene segments. Despite this, a subset of the Ab repertoire (10%) contains exceptionally long CDR H chain (HC) 3 (H3) regions with a rich diversity of cysteines and disulfide-bonded loops that diversify through a single V-D-J recombination event followed by massive somatic hypermutation. However, the much larger portion of the repertoire, encoding shorter CDR H3s, has not been examined in detail. Analysis of germline gene segments reveals noncanonical cysteines in the HC V regions and significant cysteine content in the HC D regions. Deep sequencing analysis of naturally occurring shorter CDR H3 (<40 aa) Ab genes shows that HC V and HC D regions preferentially combine to form a functional gene with an even number of total cysteines in the final V region, suggesting that disulfide bonds contribute to diversity not only in ultralong CDR H3 bovine Abs but in shorter CDR H3 bovine Abs as well. In addition to germline "hard-coded" cysteines, the bovine Ab repertoire can produce additional cysteine codons through somatic hypermutation, further diversifying the repertoire. Given the limited combinatorial diversity at the bovine Ig loci, this helps to explain how diversity is created in shorter CDR H3 Abs and potentially provides novel structural paratopes in bovine Ab combining sites.

published proceedings

  • Immunohorizons

author list (cited authors)

  • Haakenson, J. K., Deiss, T. C., Warner, G. F., Mwangi, W., Criscitiello, M. F., & Smider, V. V.

publication date

  • January 1, 2019 11:11 AM