We have studied DRB1 sequence polymorphisms associated with DR4 subtypes using DR4-specific DNA amplification and sequence-specific oligonucleotide probe (SSOP) hybridization. The 5' amplification primer was designed to hybridize with a unique sequence in the first hypervariable region (HVR) of the DRB1 second exon of all known DR4 alleles; the 3' primer was designed to hybridize with an intron sequence common to all DRB1 The specificity of the amplification step was demonstrated by double-blind testing of 105 selected DNA samples. Prospective SSOP typing of DR4 alleles was performed in 104 unrelated individuals known to be DR4-positive, including 13 who were DR4-homozygous. A DRB1 subtype corresponding with the previously defined DR4-associated specificities Dw4, Dw10, Dw13.1, Dw13.2, Dw14.1, Dw14.2, Dw15, and DwKT2 could be assigned for each of the 117 DR4 haplotypes tested. In most cases, DR4-homozygous, DRB1-heterozygous individuals could be genotyped with the panel of probes. In the course of our analysis, we identified two new DR4-related alleles, DRB1*04.CB (DRB1*0410)1 and DRB1*04.EC (DRB1*, 0411)2 which were recognized by their novel hybridization patterns. The DRB1 second exon sequence of DRB1*04.CB is identical to DRB1*0405 except at codon 86 where GTG encodes valine instead of GGT encoding glycine. DRB1*04.EC is identical to DRB1*04.CB except at codon 74 where GAG encodes glutamic acid instead of GCG encoding alanine. Our results provide further evidence that SSOP hybridization is the most effective approach available for subtyping DR4 haplotypes and identifying unrecognized variants. A similar approach should be equally informative for subtyping other DR alleles.