The DriverMap™ AIR TCR-BCR Profiling Kit combines multiplexed RT-PCR amplification with the depth and precision of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) to quantitatively measure gene expression and analyze RNA sequences of all functional immune receptor mRNA isoforms for TCR chains (TRA, TRB, TRD, TRG) and BCR chains (IGH, IGK, and IGL) with the exclusion of non-functional pseudogenes and ORFs (as defined by IMGT database

The AIR assay allows profiling the repertoire of full-length receptor regions (CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3) using a set of experimentally validated forward primers (designed for variable FR1 region), and reverse primers (designed for the conserved C region) of TCR and BCR mRNAs. Two sets of AIR primers specific for TCR (TRA, TRB, TRD, and TRG) and BCR (IGH, IGL, and IGK) chains are provided separately in AIR reagent kits to allow profiling AIR repertoires individually for TCRs or BCRs or together in a single reaction. Profiling the full-length receptor region gives a complete picture of all the CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 variable region repertoire diversity which is useful for understanding epitope recognition for T-cells and antibody discovery applications for B cells.

Fig 1. The DriverMap AIR TCR-BCR Full-length Kit amplifies the full-length (CDR1-CDR2-CDR3) receptor region.

Main advantages of DriverMap™ AIR Assay:

  • An easy-to-run, one-tube, the single-day assay allows profiling of target transcripts from total RNA isolated from whole blood, PBMC, tissue, or directly from a small number (e.g., 100-50,000) of purified immune cells without prior RNA isolation.
  • The assay provides robust, quantitative, and reproducible measurements of the copy number of clonotype mRNAs over as many as 4-orders of magnitude differences in expression level.
  • To assay provides increased sensitivity from a small amount of RNA (1-50 ng), the DriverMap protocol employs several mechanisms to minimize amplification of off-target and primer dimer background products.
  • No mRNA enrichment, rRNA, mitochondrial, beta-globin depletion, or other processing is required.
  • The primers are designed using Illumina’s DNA/RNA UDP Indexes labeling strategy to minimize NGS index-swapping background issues and amplified products are compatible with 300-n paired-end NGS sequencing using Illumina’s NextSeq/NovaSeq instruments.
  • The reverse gene-specific primers are designed with Unique Molecular Identifiers (UMIs), which facilitate the accurate quantification of the copy number of cDNA molecules used in amplification steps and detection of low abundance clonotypes above the background level.
  • NGS data can be analyzed with the MiXCR software package available online. Cellecta also provides custom data analysis services on request.
Fig. 2. Outline of DriverMap Multiplex RT-PCR Technology. Step 1: Reverse gene-specific primers (GSP) with UMI targeting all TCR and BCR C-region isoforms, are hybridized with mRNA and extended with reverse transcriptase. Step 2: Forward GSPs are annealed with cDNA template and extended by DNA polymerase. Step 3: In the first PCR step, anchored universal primers (AP1 and AP2) are amplified CDR3 (or CDR1-CDR2-CDR3) cDNA fragments. Step 4: Second PCR amplifies CDR3 fragments using indexed primers. The indexed amplified products are then analyzed by NGS.

Additional Profiling Assays Compatible with the AIR RNA Assay::

  • DriverMap™ AIR TCR/BCR Profiling Kit (human DNA) allows comprehensive CDR repertoire analysis from gDNA for all four TCR chains (TRA, TRB, TRD, and TRG) and/or three BCR chains (IGH, IGK, and IGL) using primers designed for FR3 and J regions. Although AIR RNA provides higher sensitivity than AIR DNA assay, both assays could be effectively used together for the identification of antigen-induced clonotypes. For more details, please refer to AIR Technical Guide.
  • DriverMap™ EXP T/B500 Immune Marker Profiling Kit is designed for deep characterization of T and B immune cell fractions (e.g., naïve, effector, memory, exhausted, etc.) using a set of primers designed for 500 highly informative T-cell and B-cell subtyping and activation marker genes. Combined profiling of AIR repertoire and T/B marker genes in isolated (e.g., by FACS or magnetic beads) immune cell fractions provide a comprehensive phenotypic characterization of T/B cell subtypes associated with different TCR/BCR clonotypes.
  • DriverMap™ EXP Genome-Wide Profiling Kit is a convenient single-tube RT-PCR-NGS protocol that robustly measures the expression level of all 19,000 human protein-coding genes starting from a small amount of total RNA (down to single-cell level). Combined EXP and AIR profiling can be used for comprehensive phenotypic characterization of RNA samples and unbiased discovery of novel biomarkers associated with specific CDR clonotypes.

Related Products and Services:

  • AIR profiling assay in whole blood microsamples. AIR repertoire analysis could be performed without RNA purification directly in 30 µl of whole blood collected, stabilized, and dried using microsampling technology tips from Neoteryx.

For more detailed recommendations related to the design of your experiment, please refer to the AIR Guide brochure. For more information on Cellecta’s DriverMap kits and services, please visit the DriverMap Adaptive Immune Receptor (AIR) Profiling Service webpage.

Please read the entire user manual before proceeding with your experiment.


PLEASE NOTE: The purchase of all Cellecta Products are covered by Cellecta’s standard Terms and Conditions of Sale as described on Cellecta’s website, and selected Products containing particular technology or having certain features are also subject to restrictions on use as outlined in the Label License section of our website. Please review these Terms and Label License Restrictions before opening and using your Product and, if you are not able to abide by the restriction, contact Cellecta to return the item to Cellecta for a full refund.

Last modified: 22 September 2023

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