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Background: Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is nowadays the most used high-throughput technology for DNA sequencing. Among others NGS enables the in-depth analysis of immune repertoires. Research in the field of T cell receptor (TCR) and immunoglobulin (IG) repertoires aids in understanding immunological diseases. A main objective is the analysis of the V(D)J recombination defining the structure and specificity of the immune repertoire. Accurate processing, evaluation and visualization of immune repertoire NGS data is important for better understanding immune responses and immunological behavior. Results: ImmunoDataAnalyzer (IMDA) is a pipeline we have developed for automatizing the analysis of immunological NGS data. IMDA unites the functionality from carefully selected immune repertoire analysis software tools and covers the whole spectrum from initial quality control up to the comparison of multiple immune repertoires. It provides methods for automated pre-processing of barcoded and UMI tagged immune repertoire NGS data, facilitates the assembly of clonotypes and calculates key figures for describing the immune repertoire. These include commonly used clonality and diversity measures, as well as indicators for V(D)J gene segment usage and between sample similarity. IMDA reports all relevant information in a compact summary containing visualizations, calculations, and sample details, all of which serve for a more detailed overview. IMDA further generates an output file including key figures for all samples, designed to serve as input for machine learning frameworks to find models for differentiating between specific traits of samples. Conclusions: IMDA constructs TCR and IG repertoire data from raw NGS reads and facilitates descriptive data analysis and comparison of immune repertoires. The IMDA workflow focus on quality control and ease of use for non-computer scientists. The provided output directly facilitates the interpretation of input data and includes information about clonality, diversity, clonotype overlap as well as similarity, and V(D)J gene segment usage. IMDA further supports the detection of sample swaps and cross-sample contamination that potentially occurred during sample preparation. In summary, IMDA reduces the effort usually required for immune repertoire data analysis by providing an automated workflow for processing raw NGS data into immune repertoires and subsequent analysis. The implementation is open-source and available on https://bioinformatics.fh-hagenberg.at/immunoanalyzer/.
Vetter, J., Schaller, S., Heinzel, A., Aschauer, C., Reindl-Schwaighofer, R., Jelencsics, K., … Winkler, S. M. (2022). ImmunoDataAnalyzer: a bioinformatics pipeline for processing barcoded and UMI tagged immunological NGS data. BMC Bioinformatics, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12859-021-04535-4