Immunoglobulin repertoire restriction characterizes the serological responses of patients with predominantly antibody deficiency

Troelnikov, Alexander, et al. “Immunoglobulin repertoire restriction characterizes the serological responses of patients with predominantly antibody deficiency.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2023).



Predominantly antibody deficiency (PAD) is the most common category of inborn errors of immunity and is underpinned by impaired generation of appropriate antibody diversity and quantity. In the clinic, responses are interrogated by assessment of vaccination responses, which is central to many PAD diagnoses. However, the composition of the generated antibody repertoire is concealed from traditional quantitative measures of serological responses. Leveraging modern mass spectrometry–based proteomics (MS-proteomics), it is possible to elaborate the molecular features of specific antibody repertoires, which may address current limitations of diagnostic vaccinology.


We sought to evaluate serum antibody responses in patients with PAD following vaccination with a neo-antigen (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 vaccination) using MS-proteomics.


Following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 vaccination, serological responses in individuals with PAD and healthy controls (HCs) were assessed by anti-S1 subunit ELISA and neutralization assays. Purified anti-S1 subunit IgG and IgM was profiled by MS-proteomics for IGHV subfamily usage and somatic hypermutation analysis.


Twelve patients with PAD who were vaccine-responsive were recruited with 11 matched vaccinated HCs. Neutralization and end point anti-S1 titers were lower in PAD. All subjects with PAD demonstrated restricted anti-S1 IgG antibody repertoires, with usage of <5 IGHV subfamilies (median: 3; range 2-4), compared to ≥5 for the 11 HC subjects (P < .001). IGHV3-7 utilization was far less common in patients with PAD than in HCs (2 of 12 vs 10 of 11; P = .001). Amino acid substitutions due to somatic hypermutation per subfamily did not differ between groups. Anti-S1 IgM was present in 64% and 50% of HC and PAD cohorts, respectively, and did not differ significantly between HCs and patients with PAD.


This study demonstrates the breadth of anti-S1 antibodies elicited by vaccination at the proteome level and identifies stereotypical restriction of IGHV utilization in the IgG repertoire in patients with PAD compared with HC subjects. Despite uniformly pauci-clonal antibody repertoires some patients with PAD generated potent serological responses, highlighting a possible limitation of traditional serological techniques. These findings suggest that IgG repertoire restriction is a key feature of antibody repertoires in PAD.