Development of a single probe for documentation of chimerism following bone marrow transplantation

Yam, Priscilla ; Petz, Lawrence D. ; Ali, Sher ; Dean Stock, A. ; Bruce Wallace, R. (1987) Development of a single probe for documentation of chimerism following bone marrow transplantation American Journal of Human Genetics, 41 (5). pp. 867-881. ISSN 0002-9297

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Although numerous genetic markers are available for studying chimerism after bone marrow transplantation (BMT), there remains a need for a practical and highly informative method that is applicable in the early posttransplantation period. Using DNA restriction-fragment-length polymorphisms (RFLPs), we have evaluated the feasibility of developing a single synthetic oligonucleotide probe to study post-BMT chimerism. We have thus tested three candidate probes, termed O-3315-32, O-3315-80, and O-AY-29, that are homologous to tandemly repetitive sequences. Our results demonstrated donor-specific and recipient-specific fragments in 11 of 11 HLA-matched sibling pairs tested using probes O-3315-32 and O-3315-80. When probe O-AY-29 was used, 14 of 17 sibling pairs showed both donor and recipient markers, one had only a recipient marker, and two were identical. We showed that each of the three synthetic probes was effective in documenting donor marrow engraftment, mixed hematopoietic chimerism, the patient's pre-BMT phenotype (by using cultured skin fibroblasts obtained after BMT), and the origin of the malignant hematopoietic cells (i.e., of donor or recipient origin) in patients who developed recurrent hematologic malignancy following BMT. Compared with the use of cloned genomic probes, there are several important advantages to the use of synthetic oligonucleotide probes in studying post-BMT chimerism. Synthetic probes have absolute hybridization specificity and can be designed to suit the purposes of an individual study, since they have adjustable specificity that can be altered by changes in the length of the probe and by changes in the hybridization temperature. A single synthetic probe analogous to several highly polymorphic loci can have a polymorphism information content sufficiently high so that all but a small percentage of BMT patients could be followed easily; for example, if a probe were complementary to three highly polymorphic unlinked loci, it would discriminate approximately 98% of sibling donor/recipient pairs. This would be accomplished using only one restriction-endonuclease digestion and only one gel electrophoresis. Since other genetic markers, e.g., red blood cell antigens, immunoglobulin allotypes, and chromosome analysis, are not uniformly informative and, in some cases, cannot be used in the early posttransplantation period, the use of synthetic oligonucleotide probes for analysis of DNA RFLP is emerging as the method of choice for studies of post-BMT chimerism. This method will allow for the development of new knowledge that has not been possible with previous methods.

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