Recent progress in the molecular genetics of HLA class II antigens has revealed the existence of multiple loci and of a large degree of polymorphism, with more individual alleles than was expected. An accurate detection and analysis of this extensive polymorphism is essential for optimal HLA typing for transplantation and for a reevaluation of HLA-disease association. Because of the limitations of the current typing methods, including restriction fragment length polymorphisms, we have proposed a DNA typing procedure based on hybridization with loci- and allele-specific oligonucleotides. Here we present a much simpler way of analyzing class II micropolymorphism down to the level of single nucleotide differences. RNA oligonucleotide typing (ROT) relies on RNA dot blots and requires 10-20 ml of blood. It is shown that with appropriate oligonucleotide probes, ROT can reliably and unambiguously identify any polymorphism at any of the HLA loci, including new alleles, not identified with previous methods. This illustrates the importance of oligonucleotide typing to optimize HLA matching, in particular for transplantation involving unrelated donors.
C Ucla, J J van Rood, J Gorski, B Mach