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Investigation of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) gene diversity: KIR2DL2, KIR2DL5 and KIR2DS5


Asensio Gonzalez
Northern Ireland Regional Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory
City Hospital
Lisburn Road
Belfast BT9 7TS
Tel: +44 2890 263979
Fax: +44 2890 263881


Human killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) genes are important for restraining natural killer cytotoxicity toward cells with autologous human leukocyte antigen (HLA) while targeting cells lacking or expressing low levels of self-HLA molecules. KIR gene content and alleles vary across individual genomes and populations, requiring specialized laboratory tools for their characterization. Here, we detail methods based on sequence-specific polymerase chain reaction amplification and oligonucleotide probe hybridization to identify alleles of KIR2DL2, KIR2DL5A, KIR2DL5B and KIR2DS5. Allele frequencies for a Northern Irish population of 354 individuals typed with this system are given, along with results from 132 cell lines from the International Histocompatibility Workshop that cover many world populations. This information complements published reports by our laboratory for allele-level typing of other KIR members, totaling 12 of the 17 known genes. These methods are allowing us to characterize KIR haplotypes in our population.