High-resolution HLA-A*0201 subtyping using directed heteroduplex analysis

E. Jane Kicklighter, Kang Hun Lee, Kathleen C. Barracchini, Maria Bettinotti, Regina Norris, Toni B. Simonis, David Stroncek, Francesco M. Marincola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


HLA-A02* has become an important target for cytotoxic T lymphocytebased immunotherapy reflecting the high prevalence of this allele in patient populations. There are at least 26 different A*02 alleles, and their subtype specificity has significant functional implications for T-cell-mediated recognition of immunologic targets. We have developed a novel method for HLA-A*02 allelic screening using directed heteroduplex analysis (DHDA). DNA samples from Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B lymphoblastoid cell lines (EBV-B) representing 10 different HLA-A*02 alleles (0201, 0202, 0204, 0205, 0206, 0208, 0210, 0211, 0216, 0217) were prepared. In addition, DNA was prepared from 81 individuals representing a wide variety of A*02 subtypes previously determined by sequence specific primer (SSP) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) including individuals heterozygous for two A*02 specificities. Probes and samples were generated by PCR amplification using HLAA* 02 specific primers encompassing exons 2 and 3, where most of the functionally significant allelic polymorphism is clustered. DHDA was performed by generating heteroduplex molecules composed of a fluorescein-labeled allelic probe sequence and an unlabeled allelic PCR product. Gel retardation was consistent for allele-probe combinations. We were able to identify several A*02 alleles prepared from EBV-B cell lines that, when used as probes, had very impressive specificity and sensitivity. Combinations of two probes were identified (0205 + 0211 and 0208 + 0211) that allowed differentiation of A*0201 alleles from all other A*02 alleles tested. All samples typed by probe combinations had DHDA typing and SSP typing confirmed by DNA sequencing. This study expands the molecular typing repertoire available to the modern HLA laboratory, and shows that DHDA has significant promise as a reliable screening method for HLA A*02 subtyping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Directed heteroduplex analysis
  • HLA-A*0201
  • Subtyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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