BACKGROUND Serologic determination of the Vel- phenotype is challenging due to variable Vel expression levels. In this study we investigated the genetic basis for weak Vel expression levels and developed a high-throughput genotyping assay to detect Vel- donors. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODSIn 548 random Caucasian and 107 Vel+(w) donors genetic variation in the SMIM1 gene was studied and correlated to Vel expression levels. A total of 3366 Caucasian, 621 black, and 333 Chinese donors were screened with a high-throughput genotyping assay targeting the SMIM1*64_80del allele. RESULTSThe Vel+(w) phenotype is in most cases caused by the presence of one SMIM1 allele carrying the major allele of the rs1175550 SNP in combination with a SMIM1*64_80del allele or in few cases caused by the presence of the SMIM1*152T>A or SMIM1*152T>G allele. In approximately 6% of Vel+(w) donors genetic factors in SMIM1 could not explain the weak expression. We excluded the possibility that lack of expression of another blood group system was correlated with weak Vel expression levels. Furthermore, using a high-throughput Vel genotyping assay we detected two Caucasian Vel- donors. CONCLUSIONWeak Vel expression levels are caused by multiple genetic factors in SMIM1 and probably also by other genetic or environmental factors. Due to the variation in Vel expression levels, serologic determination of the Vel- phenotype is difficult and a genotyping assay targeting the c.64_80del deletion in SMIM1 should be used to screen donors for the Vel- phenotype.
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2015|