Denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography: A review



Denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) compares two or more chromosomes as a mixture of denatured and reannealed PCR amplicons, revealing the presence of a mutation by the differential retention of homo- and heteroduplex DNA on reversed-phase chromatography supports under partial denaturation. Temperature determines sensitivity, and its optimum can be predicted by computation. Single-nucleotide substitutions, deletions, and insertions have been detected successfully by on-line UV or fluorescence monitoring within 2–3 minutes in unpurified amplicons as large as 1.5 Kb. Sensitivity and specificity of DHPLC consistently exceed 96%. These features and its low cost make DHPLC one of the most powerful tools for the re-sequencing of the human and other genomes. Aside from its application to the mutational analysis of candidate genes, DHPLC has proven instrumental in elucidating human evolution and in the mapping of genes. Employing completely denaturing conditions, the utility of DHPLC has been extended to the genotyping of known polymorphisms by utilizing the ability of poly(styrene-divinylbenzene) to resolve single-stranded DNA molecules of identical size that differ in a single base. Under completely denaturing conditions, it is thus possible to resolve all possible base substitutions with the single exception of C→G transversions. Improvements in throughput became feasible with the recent introduction of monolithic poly(styrene-divinylbenzene) capillaries that lend themselves to the fabrication of arrays connected to a multi-color laser induced fluorescence scanner or a mass spectrometer. Hum Mutat 17:439–474, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.