Saddlebags: A software interface for submitting full-length HLA allele sequences to the EMBL-ENA nucleotide database

B. M. Matern, M. Groeneweg, C. E. M. Voorter, M. G. J. Tilanus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Submission of full-length HLA allele sequences presents a unique challenge, both for high-throughput sequencing laboratories and smaller diagnostic laboratories. HLA's extensive polymorphism means that accurate representation and annotation of allele sequence is of critical importance, and curators of nucleotide databases must establish submission formats to ensure high-quality data and prevent ambiguities. The IPD-IMGT/HLA database is established as the standard repository for HLA sequences, and it is a major goal of the 17th International HLA and Immunogenetics Workshop to fill the IPD-IMGT/HLA database with full-length HLA sequences. The process of preparing sequence annotation and metadata is cumbersome and error prone, and it is desirable to create a straightforward and concise method of preparing sequence submissions. We introduce Saddlebags, a software tool for rapid generation of HLA (novel) full-length allele sequence submissions. HLA allele sequences are submitted first to EMBL European Nucleotide Archive (EMBL-ENA), and metadata is gathered for subsequent preparation of an IPD-IMGT/HLA formatted submission. Combining these steps into a pipeline reduces effort and minimizes errors for submitting laboratories. This software has been used by Maastricht University Medical Center Transplantation Immunology Laboratory to submit 79 novel alleles to EMBL-ENA, and the tool is freely available for the HLA community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • HLA
  • novel allele
  • Saddlebags
  • sequencing
  • software
  • submission

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