Dissection of the clonal composition of bovine alphabeta T cell responses using T cell receptor Vbeta subfamily-specific PCR and heteroduplex analysis

T Connelley, Niall D MacHugh, A Burrells, W I Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although techniques that permit analysis of the clonal composition of T cell populations have been used extensively to provide a better understanding of the mechanisms that influence efficacy of T cell responses in humans and mice, such methods are lacking for other animal species. In this paper we report the establishment and validation of a panel of Vbeta subfamily-specific semi-nested PCR assays, and a CDR3beta heteroduplex technique for analysing the clonal diversity of bovine alphabeta T cell responses. Development of these methods was based on available sequence data for 48 functional Vbeta genes classified within 17 subfamilies. These techniques were used to determine the clonal composition of parasite-reactive CD8(+) T cells obtained from two animals immunised with the protozoan parasite Theileria parva. Analyses of uncloned T cell lines as well as large panels of cloned T cells derived from each of these lines confirmed the specificity and sensitivity of the assays. Specific PCR products were obtained from 96% of the T cell clones examined, indicating that the currently identified Vbeta genes represent most of the functional Vbeta subfamilies in cattle. Heteroduplex analyses, coupled with sequencing of PCR products, identified over 20 clonal expansions within each of the T cell lines, distributed over a large number of Vbeta subfamilies, although a limited number of clonotypes numerically dominated the response in both animals. The development and validation of these methods provides for the first time a generic set of molecular tools that can be used to perform detailed analysis of the TCR diversity and clonal composition of bovine T cell responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-40
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Cattle
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clone Cells
  • Complementarity Determining Regions
  • DNA Primers
  • Heteroduplex Analysis
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Theileria parva
  • Theileriasis


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