The killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) region of human chromosome 19 contains up to 16 genes for natural killer (NK) cell receptors that recognize human leukocyte antigen (HLA)/peptide complexes and other ligands. The KIR proteins fulfill functional roles in infections, pregnancy, autoimmune diseases and transplantation. However, their characterization remains a constant challenge. Not only are the genes highly homologous due to their recent evolution by tandem duplications, but the region is structurally dynamic due to frequent transposon-mediated recombination. A sequencing approach that precisely captures the complexity of KIR haplotypes for functional annotation is desirable. We present a unique approach to haplotype the KIR loci using single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing. Using this method, we have-for the first time-comprehensively sequenced and phased sixteen KIR haplotypes from eight individuals without imputation. The information revealed four novel haplotype structures, a novel gene-fusion allele, novel and confirmed insertion/deletion events, a homozygous individual, and overall diversity for the structural haplotypes and their alleles. These KIR haplotypes augment our existing knowledge by providing high-quality references, evolutionary informers, and source material for imputation. The haplotype sequences and gene annotations provide alternative loci for the KIR region in the human genome reference GrCh38.p8.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by funding from Office of Naval Research grants ONR N00014-12-1-0142 and ONR N00014-14-1-0028. We thank Tayebeh Rezaie and Valerie Schneider from the National Center for biotechnology information for their assistance incorporating the sequences into the human genome reference, Dan Veltri for help and advice with SimpleSynteny, and Julia Udell and Michael Wright for reviewing the manuscript.