Efforts to quantify the diversity of the T cell repertoire have generally been unsuccessful because not all factors accounting for diversity have been considered. In order to get an accurate representation of the T cell repertoire, one must incorporate analysis of germline gene diversity, diversity from somatic recombination, joining diversity from N- and P- nucleotides, and TCR chain pairing diversity. Because of advances in high-throughput sequencing techniques, estimates have been able to account for diversity from TCR genes. However the ability to account for chain pairing diversity has been more difficult. In order to do so, single cell sorting techniques must be employed. These techniques, though effective, are time consuming and expensive. For this reason, no large-scale analyses have been done on the immune repertoires using these techniques. In this study, we propose a novel method for linking the two TCR chain sequences from an individual cell. DNA origami nanostructure technology is employed to capture and bind the TCRγ and TCRδ chain mRNA inside individual cells using probe strands complementary to the C-region of those sequences. We then use a dual-primer RT and ligation molecular strategy to link the two sequences together. The result is a single amplicon containing the CDR3 region of the TCRγ and TCRδ. This amplicon can then be easily PCR amplified using sequence specific primers, and sequenced. DNA origami nanostructures offer a rapid, cost-effective method alternative to conventional single cell sorting techniques, as both TCR mRNA can be captured on one origami molecule inside a single cell. At present, this study outlines a proof-of-principle analysis of the method to determine its functionality. Using known TCRγ and TCRδ sequences, the DNA origami and RT/PCR method was tested and resulting sequence data proved the effectiveness of the method. The original TCRγ and TCRδ sequences were linked together as a single amplicon containing both CDR3 regions of the genes. Thus, this method can be employed in further research to elucidate the γδ T cell repertoire. This technology is also easily adapted to any gene target or cell type and therefore presents a large opportunity to be used in other immune repertoire analysis and other immunological studies (such as the rapid identification and subsequent production of antibodies).
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