IMGT®, the international ImMunoGeneTics information system® ( http://www.imgt.org ), was created in 1989 in Montpellier, France (CNRS and Montpellier University) to manage the huge and complex diversity of the antigen receptors, and is at the origin of immunoinformatics, a science at the interface between immunogenetics and bioinformatics. Immunoglobulins (IG) or antibodies and T cell receptors (TR) are managed and described in the IMGT® databases and tools at the level of receptor, chain and domain. The analysis of the IG and TR variable (V) domain rearranged nucleotide sequences is performed by IMGT/V-QUEST (online since 1997, 50 sequences per batch) and, for next generation sequencing (NGS), by IMGT/HighV-QUEST, the high throughput version of IMGT/V-QUEST (portal begun in 2010, 500,000 sequences per batch). In vitro combinatorial libraries of engineered antibody single chain Fragment variable (scFv) which mimic the in vivo natural diversity of the immune adaptive responses are extensively screened for the discovery of novel antigen binding specificities. However the analysis of NGS full length scFv (~850 bp) represents a challenge as they contain two V domains connected by a linker and there is no tool for the analysis of two V domains in a single chain.
The functionality "Analyis of single chain Fragment variable (scFv)" has been implemented in IMGT/V-QUEST and, for NGS, in IMGT/HighV-QUEST for the analysis of the two V domains of IG and TR scFv. It proceeds in five steps: search for a first closest V-REGION, full characterization of the first V-(D)-J-REGION, then search for a second V-REGION and full characterization of the second V-(D)-J-REGION, and finally linker delimitation.
For each sequence or NGS read, positions of the 5'V-DOMAIN, linker and 3'V-DOMAIN in the scFv are provided in the 'V-orientated' sense. Each V-DOMAIN is fully characterized (gene identification, sequence description, junction analysis, characterization of mutations and amino changes). The functionality is generic and can analyse any IG or TR single chain nucleotide sequence containing two V domains, provided that the corresponding species IMGT reference directory is available.
The "Analysis of single chain Fragment variable (scFv)" implemented in IMGT/V-QUEST and, for NGS, in IMGT/HighV-QUEST provides the identification and full characterization of the two V domains of full-length scFv (~850 bp) nucleotide sequences from combinatorial libraries. The analysis can also be performed on concatenated paired chains of expressed antigen receptor IG or TR repertoires.