HLA class I alleles in Australian aborigines and their peptide binding profiles
The HLA system is under balancing selection. HLA alleles are maintained in populations by their divergent functions. The peptide binding profiles of HLA alleles may hold the key to a better understanding of HLA diversification and polymorphism maintenance. Long isolated Australian aboriginal populations provide a good model for these studies. The four HLA-A, seven B and five or six C alleles commonly detected in them represent the minimum class I repertoire carried by the founder group as well as the minimum class I polymorphism that needs to be maintained in these populations. All these alleles have a unique combination of the P2 and P9 anchor preferences indicating unique peptide binding profiles that have ‘earned’ their place in the minimum allele set. This study of Australian aborigines provides further insights into the mechanism of HLA evolution in general.
Key wordsMajor histocompatibility complex Class I human leucocyte antigen gene Human evolution Peptide presentation Australian aborigines
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