Fundamental characteristics of the expressed immunoglobulin VH and VL repertoire in different canine breeds in comparison with those of humans and mice

Sebastian C.J. Steiniger, William E. Dunkle, Gary F. Bammert, Thomas L. Wilson, Abhiram Krishnan, Steven A. Dunham, Gregory C. Ippolito, Graeme Bainbridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Complementarity determining regions (CDR) are responsible for binding antigen and provide substantial diversity to the antibody repertoire, with VH CDR3 of the immunoglobulin variable heavy (VH) domain playing a dominant role. In this study, we examined 1200 unique canine VH and 500 unique variable light (VL) sequences of large and small canine breeds derived from peripheral B cells. Unlike the human and murine repertoire, the canine repertoire is heavily dominated by the Canis lupus familiaris IGHV1 subgroup, evolutionarily closest to the human IGHV3 subgroup. Our studies clearly show that the productive canine repertoire of all analyzed breeds shows similarities to both human and mouse; however, there are distinct differences in terms of VH CDR3 length and amino acid paratope composition. In comparison with the human and murine antibody repertoire, canine VH CDR3 regions are shorter in length than the human counterparts, but longer than the murine VH CDR3. Similar to corresponding human and mouse VH CDR3, the amino acids at the base of the VH CDR3 loop are strictly conserved. For identical CDR positions, there were significant changes in chemical paratope composition. Similar to human and mouse repertoires, the neutral amino acids tyrosine, glycine and serine dominate the canine VH CDR3 interval (comprising 35%) although the interval is nonetheless relatively depleted of tyrosine when compared to human and mouse. Furthermore, canine VH CDR3 displays an overrepresentation of the neutral amino acid threonine and the negatively charged aspartic acid while proline content is similar to that in the human repertoire. In general, the canine repertoire shows a bias towards small, negatively charged amino acids. Overall, this analysis suggests that functional canine therapeutic antibodies can be obtained from human and mouse sequences by methods of speciation and affinity maturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Amino acid composition
  • Antibody engineering
  • Canine antibody repertoire
  • Canine breeds
  • Immunoglobulin heavy chain complementary-determining region 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Fundamental characteristics of the expressed immunoglobulin VH and VL repertoire in different canine breeds in comparison with those of humans and mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this