Background: The MHC and KIR loci are clinically relevant regions of the genome. Typing the sequence of these loci has a wide range of applications including organ transplantation, drug discovery, pharmacogenomics and furthering fundamental research in immune genetics. Rapid advances in biochemical and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have enabled several strategies for precise genotyping and phasing of candidate HLA alleles. Nonetheless, as typing of candidate HLA alleles alone reveals limited aspects of the genetics of MHC region, it is insufficient for the comprehensive utility of the aforementioned applications. For this reason, we believe phasing the entire MHC and KIR locus onto a single locus-spanning haplotype can be a critical improvement for better understanding transplantation biology.
Results: Generating long-range (>1 Mb) phase information is traditionally very challenging. As proximity-ligation based methods of DNA sequencing preserves chromosome-span phase information, we have utilized this principle to demonstrate its utility towards generating full-length phasing of MHC and KIR loci in human samples. We accurately (~99%) reconstruct the complete haplotypes for over 90% of sequence variants (coding and non-coding) within these two loci that collectively span 4-megabases.
Conclusions: By haplotyping a majority of coding and non-coding alleles at the MHC and KIR loci in a single assay, this method has the potential to assist transplantation matching and facilitate investigation of the genetic basis of human immunity and disease.