The HLA-DRB9 gene and the origin of HLA-DR haplotypes

Rafael Gongora, Felipe Figueroa, Jan Klein

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22 Scopus citations


HLA-DRB9 is a gene fragment consisting of exon 2 and flanking intron sequences. It is located at the extreme end of the DRB subregion, whose other end is demarcated by the DRB1 locus. We sequenced approximately 1400 base pairs of the segment encompassing the DRB9 locus from eight human haplotypes (DR1, DR10, DR2, DR3, DR5, DR6, DR8, and DR9, the DR4 and DR7 having been sequenced by others earlier), as well as two chimpanzee, five gorillas, one orangutan and one macaque haplotype. The analysis of these sequences indicates that the DRB9 locus, which we estimate to be more than 58 million years (my) old, has been coevolving with the DRB1 locus for the last 4.2 my. As a consequence of this coevolution, the human DRB9 alleles fall into groups that correlate with the DRB1 allelic groups and with the gene organization of the human haplotypes. This observation implies that the present-day HLA-DR haplotype groups (DR1, DR51, DR52, DR8, and DR53) were founded more than 4 my ago and have remained intact (barring minor internal rearrangements that did not recombine the DRB1 and DRB9 genes) for this period of time. The haplotypes have been transmitted during speciations from ancestral to emerging species just like allelic lineages at the DRB1 locus. Thus not only allelic but also haplotype polymorphism evolves trans-specifically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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