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Tissue Antigens. 2002 Apr;59(4):293-303.

Feasibility of using genetic linkage analysis to identify the genes encoding T cell-defined minor histocompatibility antigens.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


We have evaluated the utility of genetic linkage analysis to identify genes that encode minor histocompatibility antigens using vaccinia virus vectors as a simple and convenient method for transient expression of class I MHC molecules in lymphoblastoid cell lines. As a test case, we used a CTL clone that recognizes HA-8, a minor histocompatibility antigen encoded by the KIAA0020 gene and presented by HLA-A*0201. EBV-transformed B cell lines from individuals in three large pedigrees from the CEPH reference family collection were infected with a recombinant vaccinia virus vector encoding an HLA-A*0201 transgene, which led to high level expression of the MHC restricting allele HLA-A*0201 on the cell surface. HA-8 expression in the vaccinia-infected target cells was then determined using standard in vitro cytotoxicity assays. Pairwise linkage analysis of the segregation of HA-8 expression in these pedigrees demonstrated that the HA-8 gene was tightly linked with a cluster of marker loci located on the distal portion of chromosome 9p. Analysis of 9p marker haplotypes for individuals in the three families identified several individuals with recombinant haplotypes, and these recombination events were used to refine the precision of the HA-8 gene localization further. The data collectively indicate that the HA-8 gene is localized to a 10.3 cM (corresponding to 3.9 Mb) interval of distal 9p that is thought to encode at least 11 genes, including KIAA0020. These results demonstrate that linkage analysis can be used to map minor histocompatibility genes with high precision and accuracy. Over the next years, refinement and annotation of the human genome sequence will undoubtedly increase the utility of linkage analysis as a tool for identifying minor histocompatibility antigen genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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