RNase H-dependent PCR-enabled T-cell receptor sequencing (rhTCRseq) can be used to determine paired alpha/beta T-cell receptor (TCR) clonotypes in single cells or perform alpha and beta TCR repertoire analysis in bulk RNA samples. With the enhanced specificity of RNase H-dependent PCR (rhPCR), it achieves TCR-specific amplification and addition of dual-index barcodes in a single PCR step. For single cells, the protocol includes sorting of single cells into plates, generation of cDNA libraries, a TCR-specific amplification step, a second PCR on pooled sample to generate a sequencing library, and sequencing. In the bulk method, sorting and cDNA library steps are replaced with a reverse-transcriptase (RT) reaction that adds a unique molecular identifier (UMI) to each cDNA molecule to improve the accuracy of repertoire-frequency measurements. Compared to other methods for TCR sequencing, rhTCRseq has a streamlined workflow and the ability to analyze single cells in 384-well plates. Compared to TCR reconstruction from single-cell transcriptome sequencing data, it improves the success rate for obtaining paired alpha/beta information and ensures recovery of complete complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) sequences, a prerequisite for cloning/expression of discovered TCRs. Although it has lower throughput than droplet-based methods, rhTCRseq is well-suited to analysis of small sorted populations, especially when analysis of 96 or 384 single cells is sufficient to identify predominant T-cell clones. For single cells, sorting typically requires 2-4 h and can be performed days, or even months, before library construction and data processing, which takes ~4 d; the bulk RNA protocol takes ~3 d.
Li, S., Sun, J., Allesøe, R. L.
, Datta, K., Bao, Y., Oliveira, G., Forman, J., Jin, R., Olsen, L. R.
, Keskin, D. B., Shukla, S. A., Wu, C. J., & Livak, K. J. (2019). RNase H-dependent PCR-enabled T-cell receptor sequencing for highly specific and efficient targeted sequencing of T-cell receptor mRNA for single-cell and repertoire analysis
. Nature protocols
, 2571-2594. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41596-019-0195-x