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Eur J Immunogenet. 2003 Apr;30(2):141-8.

Relative quantification of HLA-DRA1 and -DQA1 expression by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

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Institute for Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine III, Friedrich Alexander University, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.


Polymorphism in the upstream regulatory region (URR) of the MHC class II DQA1 gene defines 10 different alleles named QAP (DQA1 promoter). In vitro studies have suggested that allelic polymorphism in the HLA-DQA promoter region may result in differences in HLA-DQA1 gene expression. In the present study, we used real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to quantify differences in HLA-DQA1 gene expression. After the isolation of total mRNA, reverse transcription into cDNA was carried out using random hexamer priming and moloney murine leukaemia virus (MMLV) reverse transcriptase. Quantification of DQA1 mRNA species using a set of six group-specific primer pairs for the detection of HLA-DQA1*01, *02, *03, *04, *05 and *06 was carried out on an ABI PRISM GeneAmp 7700 Sequence Detection System (Perkin Elmer, Foster City, CA) with real-time detection and quantification taking advantage of the fluorescence TaqMan technology (Perkin Elmer, Foster City, CA). Normalization of cDNA templates was achieved by glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) quantification. In addition, the total amount of mRNA produced by HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DRA1 expression was quantified for comparison. Subsequently, this approach was validated using Raji and HUT-78 cell lines and tested with peripheral mononuclear cells (PBMC) of 45 samples taken from healthy volunteers. The sensitivity was determined with > or = 10(2) copies. Comparison of the allele-specific DQA1 expression with the total expression of DQA1 and DRA1 mRNA indicated that DQA1*04 expression was increased compared with the expression of other alleles of the DQA1 gene. Thus, allele-specific quantification of DQA1 gene products could be achieved by real-time RT-PCR suitable for the analysis of differential expression of DQA1 mRNAs in homozygote and heterozygote combinations.

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