, Volume 61, Issue 7, pp 493-502,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 01 Jul 2009

A clonotype nomenclature for T cell receptors


T cell receptor (TCR) nucleotide sequences are often generated during analyses of T cell responses to pathogens or autoantigens. The most important region of the TCR is the third complementarity-determining region (CDR3) whose nucleotide sequence is unique to each T cell clone. The CDR3 interacts with the peptide and thus is important for recognizing pathogen or autoantigen epitopes. While conventions exist for identifying the various TCR chains, there is a lack of a concise nomenclature that would identify both the amino acid translation and nucleotide sequence of the CDR3. This deficiency makes the comparison of published TCR genetic and proteomic information difficult. To enhance information sharing among different databases and to facilitate computational assessment of clonotypic T cell repertoires, we propose a clonotype nomenclature. The rules for generating a clonotype identifier are simple and easy to follow, and have a built-in error-checking system. The identifier includes the V and J region, the CDR3 length as well as its human or mouse origin. The framework of this naming system could also be expanded to the B cell receptor.