The association between HLA-A alleles and an Alu dimorphism near HLA-G

J.K. Kulski, Olga Martinez, N. Longman-Jacobsen, W. Wang, J. Williamson, R.L. Dawkins, T. Shiina, T. Naruse, H. Inoko

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The AluYb8 sequences are a subfamily of short interspersed Alu retroelements that have been amplified within the human genome during recent evolutionary time and are useful polymorphic markers for studies on the origin of human populations. We have identified a new member of the Yb8 subfamily, AluyHG, located between the HLA-H and -G genes and 88-kb telomeric of the highly polymorphic HLA-A gene within the alpha block of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The AluyHG element was characterised with a view to examining the association between AluyHG and HLA-A polymorphism and reconstructing the history of the MHC alpha block. A specific primer pair was designed for a simple PCR assay to detect the absence or presence (dimorphism) of the AluyHG element within the DNA samples prepared from a panel of 46 homozygous cell-lines containing complete or recombinant ancestral haplotypes (AH) of diverse ethnic origin and 92 Caucasoid and Asian subjects on which HLA-A typing was available. The AluyHG insertion was most strongly associated with HLA-A2 and, to a lesser degree with HLA-A1, -A3, -A11, and A-19. The gene frequency of the AluyHG insertion for 146 Caucasians and 94 Chinese-Han was 0.30 and 0.32 and there was no significant difference between the observed and expected frequencies. The results of the association studies and the phylogenetic analysis of HLA-A alleles suggest that the AluyHG sequence was integrated within the progenitor of HLA-A2, but has been transferred by recombination to other human ancestral populations. In this regard, the dimorphic AluyHG element is an important diagnostic marker for HLA association studies and could help in elucidating the evolution and functions of the MHC alpha block and polymorphism within and between ancestral haplotypes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-123
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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