Application of MLPA assay to characterize unsolved α-globin gene rearrangements

Alessia Colosimo, Valentina Gatta, Valentina Guida, Eleonora Leodori, Enrica Foglietta, Silvana Rinaldi, Maria Pia Cappabianca, Antonio Amato, Liborio Stuppia, Bruno Dallapiccola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


α-thalassemia belongs to those inherited diseases in which large genomic deletions/duplications represent a significant proportion of causative mutations. Until recently, large α-globin gene cluster rearrangements have been mainly detected by gap-PCR and Southern blotting, methods that have significant drawbacks. We tested the recently developed multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) assay for deletional screening of the α-globin gene cluster in a cohort of 25 individuals suspected of having α-globin alteration(s), in which no or doubtful mutations had been found using conventional methods. In 13 out of 18 α-thalassemia carriers and in all 5 patients with HbH we found the causative α-globin defects. In 2 thalassemia intermedia patients, carriers of heterozygous α-globin mutations, the co-inheritance of homozygous α-genes triplication was detected. MLPA results were subsequently confirmed by real-time PCR. This study shows that MLPA can effectively identify different and unknown types of α-globin gene rearrangements, to allow characterizing previously unsolved α-thalassemia genotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalBlood cells, molecules & diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2011


  • α-thalassemia
  • MLPA
  • Real-time PCR
  • SYBER Green
  • Thalassemia intermedia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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