Genomic variation in the porcine immunoglobulin lambda variable region

Xi Guo, John C. Schwartz, Michael P. Murtaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Production of a vast antibody repertoire is essential for the protection against pathogens. Variable region germline complexity contributes to repertoire diversity and is a standard feature of mammalian immunoglobulin loci, but functional V region genes are limited in swine. For example, the porcine lambda light chain locus is composed of 23 variable (V) genes and 4 joining (J) genes, but only 10 or 11 V and 2 J genes are functional. Allelic variation in V and J may increase overall diversity within a population, yet lead to repertoire holes in individuals lacking key alleles. Previous studies focused on heavy chain genetic variation, thus light chain allelic diversity is not known. We characterized allelic variation of the porcine immunoglobulin lambda variable (IGLV) region genes. All intact IGLV genes in 81 pigs were amplified, sequenced, and analyzed to determine their allelic variation and functionality. We observed mutational variation across the entire length of the IGLV genes, in both framework and complementarity determining regions (CDRs). Three recombination hotspot motifs were also identified suggesting that non-allelic homologous recombination is an evolutionarily alternative mechanism for generating germline antibody diversity. Functional alleles were greatest in the most highly expressed families, IGLV3 and IGLV8. At the population level, allelic variation appears to help maintain the potential for broad antibody repertoire diversity in spite of reduced gene segment choices and limited germline sequence modification. The trade-off may be a reduction in repertoire diversity within individuals that could result in an increased variation in immunity to infectious disease and response to vaccination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Kent Reed for critically reading the manuscript and helpful suggestions. Funding was provided by the National Pork Board grant 10-139 (J.C.S. and M.P.M.). J.C.S. was supported by the Molecular Virology Training Grant T32 AI83196 from the National Institutes of Health and a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Minnesota. X.G. was supported in part by a University of Minnesota MnDRIVE Global Foods Venture fellowship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Allelic variation
  • Antibody repertoire
  • Immunology
  • Light chain
  • Porcine
  • Sus scrofa


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