, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 718-726

The Association Between HLA-A Alleles and Young Alu Dimorphisms Near the HLA-J, -H, and -F Genes in Workshop Cell Lines and Japanese and Australian Populations

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At least two polymorphic Alu insertions have been previously identified and characterized within the class I region of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). We have identified another two new polymorphic Alu insertions, AluyHJ and AluyHF, located near HLA-J and HLA-F, respectively, within the a block of the MHC. Here we report on (1) the haplotypic relationships between the Alu dimorphisms and the HLA-A locus within a panel of 51 IHW homozygous cell lines representing at least 36 HLA class I haplotypes, (2) the Alu genotype, allele, and haplotype frequencies present in the Australian Caucasians and Japanese populations, and (3) the frequency of association between the different Alu dimorphisms and the HLA-A alleles in 109 Australian Caucasians and 99 Japanese. PCR was used to detect the presence or absence of insertion for AluyHJ, AluyHG, and AluyHF within the DNA samples prepared from the cell lines and the two population groups that had been previously typed for HLA-A. In the homozygous cell lines, all three Alu insertions were found in only one HLA class I haplotype (HLA-A1, -B57, -Cw6), no Alu insertions were detected in six HLA class I haplotypes and one or more of the Alu insertions were found in 29 HLA class I haplotypes. At least one of the Alu insertions was found in about 86% of the Japanese and Australian individuals, with the AluyHJ generally related inversely to AluyHG and/or AluyHF. The gene frequency of the AluyHJ and AluyHF insertions was significantly different (p <0.05) BETWEEN JAPANESE AND AUSTRALIANS, WHEREAS THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE (P > 0.05) between the frequencies of AluyHG in the two populations. The Alu haplotype frequencies were also significantly different between the Japanese and the Australians. In the cell lines and the population groups, the AluyHJ insertion was most frequently found associated with HLA-A1 or A24, AluyHG with HLA-A2, and AluyHF with HLA-A2, -A10, or -A26. This study suggests that the three polymorphic Alu elements have been inserted into the a block of the MHC in different progenitor groups and therefore will be useful lineage and linkage markers in human population studies and for elucidating the evolution of HLA class I haplotypes.