Development of a PCR-SSOP approach capable of defining the natural killer cell inhibitory receptor (KIR) gene sequence repertoires

K A Crum, S E Logue, M D Curran, D Middleton
Tissue Antigens 2000, 56 (4): 313-26
A molecular typing method based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of three different target domains (immunoglobulin domains 1 and 3, and the transmembrane-cytoplasmic domain), followed by hybridisation with 26 digoxigenin-labelled sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes (SSOP) has been established for the polymorphic killer inhibitory receptor (KIR) genes. In addition to identifying the 12 KIR subfamilies, our PCR-SSOP typing approach could also distinguish the putative alleles, NKB1 and NKAT3, that comprise the KIR3DL1 subfamily. Ninety unrelated blood donors and 13 families (52 individuals), including both parents, were subjected to our KIR PCR-SSOP typing approach. All 12 KIR subfamilies, including a 2DS5 variant sequence, were present in the 90 individuals and displayed varied phenotype frequencies: 2DL1 (0.96), 2DL2 (0.31), 2DL3 (0.95), 2DS1 (0.56) 2DS2 (0.51), 2DS3 (0.27), 2DS4 (0.96), 2DS5v (0.35), 3DS1 (0.47), 3DL1 (0.96), 3DL2 (1.0) and 2DL4 (1.0). A total of 23 different KIR phenotypes were defined in this study, and 10 of these were only found on one occasion in one individual, indicating considerable diversity in the KIR phenotype profiles within the Irish population. Most individuals (93%) possessed the complement of inhibitory KIR specificities for the three well-defined HLA-B and -C ligands. An unusual probe pattern for 3DS1 was observed in 3 individuals indicating a variant 3DS1 gene sequence with changes at nucleotide positions 1185-1186, within the cytoplasmic domain. Sequencing analysis revealed a new single nucleotide polymorphism in exon 3 of 3DL1 NKB1(195, G-A) and a 22-bp deletion polymorphism in exon 5 of 2DS4 (nucleotides 777-798 deleted). A number of strong KIR associations were observed, namely 2DL1 with 2DL3, 2DS4 with 3DL1, 2DL2 with 2DS1/2DS2/2DS3, 2DS1 with 2DS3/2DS5v/3DS1, 2DS2 with 2DS3 and 2DS5v with 3DS1. Analysis of the KIR segregation observed in the 13 families confirmed these strong associations and permitted the definition of a number of partial KIR haplotypes, e.g. 2DL2-2DS1-2DS2-2DS3-3DL1. The segregation analysis concluded that at least 3 distinct gene loci encode 2DL1-4 and at least 4 gene loci encode the non-inhibitory KIR2DS1-2DS5. In the case of 3DL1-2 and 3DS1, our data suggests 3 gene loci, one for each subfamily.

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