A subset of MHC-associated self-peptides presented by the recipient's cells and immunologically foreign to the donor can induce an allogeneic immune response after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). These immunogenic peptides originate from the genomic polymorphisms and are known as minor histocompatibility antigens (MiHA). MiHA mismatches trigger the post-transplant immune response, which could manifest in both the deleterious "graft-vs.-host" disease and the beneficial "graft-vs.-leukemia" effect. Importantly, some MiHAs are considered to be promising targets for posttransplant T-cell immunotherapy of hematopoietic malignancies. This creates a demand for a robust and fast approach to genotyping MiHA-encoding polymorphisms. We report a multiplex real-time PCR method for the genotyping of 20 polymorphisms that are encoding HLA-A*02:01-restricted MiHAs. This method uses allele-specific primers and gene-specific hydrolysis probes. In 1 h it allows for the detection of MiHA mismatches in a donor-recipient pair without the need for electrophoresis, sequencing, or other time-consuming techniques. We validated the method with Sanger and NGS sequencing and demonstrated good performance over a wide range of DNA concentrations. We propose our protocol as a fast and accurate method of identifying mismatched MiHAs. The information on the MiHA mismatches is useful for studying the allogeneic immune response following HSCT and for selecting the targets for post-transplant T-cell therapy.
Keywords: AS-PCR; AS-qPCR; HSCT; MiHA; SNP genotyping; allele-specific primer; minor histocompatibility antigens; multiplex qPCR.