Multiplexed Nanopore Sequencing of HLA-B Locus in Māori and Pacific Island Samples
30th April 2018 - Frontiers in Genetics
The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system encodes the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC). HLA-B is the most polymorphic gene in the MHC class I region and many HLA-B alleles have been associated with adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and disease susceptibility. The frequency of such HLA-B alleles varies by ethnicity, and therefore it is important to understand the prevalence of such alleles in different population groups. Research into HLA involvement in ADRs would be facilitated by improved methods for genotyping key HLA-B alleles. Here, we describe an approach to HLA-B typing using next generation sequencing (NGS) on the MinION™ nanopore sequencer, combined with data analysis with the SeqNext-HLA software package. The nanopore sequencer offers the advantages of long-read capability and single molecule reads, which can facilitate effective haplotyping. We developed this method using reference samples as well as individuals of New Zealand Māori or Pacific Island descent, because HLA-B diversity in these populations is not well understood. We demonstrate here that nanopore sequencing of barcoded, pooled, 943 bp polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplicons of 49 DNA samples generated ample read depth for all samples. HLA-B alleles were assigned to all samples at high-resolution with very little ambiguity. Our method is a scaleable and efficient approach for genotyping HLA-B and potentially any other HLA locus. Finally, we report our findings on HLA-B genotypes of this cohort, which adds to our understanding of HLA-B allele frequencies among Māori and Pacific Island people.