Exploring the relationship between genetics and immune response
Immunogenetics focuses on unraveling the relationship between genetic variations and immunological disorders and in understanding the genes involved in the immune system. Following the deciphering of the genetic code and the subsequent characterization of the common variants in the code, genetic risk factors that indicate predisposition to immunological disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis (MS), etc., were identified and studied further with the goal of developing potential prevention and treatment strategies. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) controls the immune response genes and an association with HLA indicates the susceptibility of an individual toward to developing autoimmune diseases, such as MS. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have attempted to identify both HLA and non-HLA susceptibility loci associated with diseases. Since each of these loci harbor several candidate genes, understanding the role of each of these genes is complex and therefore requires advanced technologies and methods to address the challenge.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has accelerated the understanding of the individual contribution of candidate genes through its ability to focus on specific regions (targeted sequencing) and to elucidate the role of epigenetic modifications (methyl-seq or ChIP-seq). HLA sequencing using NGS has contributed significantly to the understanding of several autoimmune disorders, and is especially advantageous in avoiding ambiguous typing results through clonal sequencing of single DNA molecules.
Roche Sequencing Solutions provides target enrichment and library preparation techniques to address the complexity of immune disorders.