A computational method for immune repertoire mining that identifies novel binders from different clonotypes, demonstrated by identifying anti-pertussis toxoid antibodies.
Richardson E., Galson JD., Kellam P., Kelly DF., Smith SE., Palser A., Watson S., Deane CM.
Due to their shared genetic history, antibodies from the same clonotype often bind to the same epitope. This knowledge is used in immune repertoire mining, where known binders are used to search bulk sequencing repertoires to identify new binders. However, current computational methods cannot identify epitope convergence between antibodies from different clonotypes, limiting the sequence diversity of antigen-specific antibodies that can be identified. We describe how the antibody binding site, the paratope, can be used to cluster antibodies with common antigen reactivity from different clonotypes. Our method, paratyping, uses the predicted paratope to identify these novel cross clonotype matches. We experimentally validated our predictions on a pertussis toxoid dataset. Our results show that even the simplest abstraction of the antibody binding site, using only the length of the loops involved and predicted binding residues, is sufficient to group antigen-specific antibodies and provide additional information to conventional clonotype analysis. Abbreviations: BCR: B-cell receptor; CDR: complementarity-determining region; PTx: pertussis toxoid.