High-resolution human KIR genotyping

Jonathan Downing, Lloyd D'Orsogna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) regulate the function of natural killer cells through interactions with various ligands on the surface of cells, thereby determining whether natural killer (NK) cells are to be activated or inhibited from killing the cell being interrogated. The genes encoding these proteins display extensive variation through variable gene content, copy number and allele polymorphism. The combination of KIR genes and their ligands is implicated in various clinical settings including haematopoietic stem cell and solid organ transplant and infectious disease progression. The determination of KIR genes has been used as a factor in the selection of optimal stem cell donors with haplotype variations in recipient and donor giving differential clinical outcomes. Methods to determine KIR genes have primarily involved ascertaining the presence or absence of genes in an individual. With the more recent introduction of massively parallel clonal next-generation sequencing and single molecule very long read length third-generation sequencing, high-resolution determination of KIR alleles has become feasible. Determining the extent and functional impact of allele variation has the potential to lead to further optimisation of clinical outcomes as well as a deeper understanding of the functional properties of the receptors and their interactions with ligands. This review summarizes recently published high-resolution KIR genotyping methods and considers the various advantages and disadvantages of the approaches taken. In addition the application of allele level genotyping in the setting of transplantation and infectious disease control is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-379
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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