Specific amino acid patterns define split specificities of HLA-B15 antigens enabling conversion from DNA-based typing to serological equivalents

Burcu Duygu*, Benedict M. Matern, Lotte Wieten, Christina E. M. Voorter, Marcel G. J. Tilanus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)


The HLA-B15 typing by serological approaches defined the serological subgroups (or splits) B62, B63, B75, B76, B77 and B70 (B71 and B72). The scarcity of sera with specific anti-HLA antibodies makes the serological typing method difficult to discriminate a high variety of HLA antigens, especially between the B15 antigen subgroups. Advancements in DNA-based technologies have led to a switch from serological typing to high-resolution DNA typing methods. DNA sequencing techniques assign B15 specificity to all alleles in the HLA-B*15 allele group, without distinction of the serological split equivalents. However, the presence of antibodies in the patient defined as split B15 antigens urges the identification of HLA-B*15 allele subtypes of the donor, since the presence of donor-specific antibodies is an important contraindication for organ transplantation. Although the HLA dictionary comprises information regarding the serological subtypes of HLA alleles, there are currently 394 B15 antigens out of 516 in the IPD-IMGT/HLA database (3.38.0) without any assigned serological subtype. In this regard, we aimed to identify specific amino acid patterns for each B*15 serological split, in order to facilitate the assignment of B*15 alleles to serological equivalents after high-resolution molecular typing. As a result, serological specificities of 372/394 not yet assigned alleles could be predicted based on amino acid motifs. Furthermore, two new serological types were identified and added, B62-Bw4 and B71-Bw4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • HLA-B*15 amino acid polymorphism
  • HLA B15 serological equivalents
  • HLA-B15 splits
  • LinkSeq (TM) HLA typing
  • HLA-B
  • BW4

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