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Population studies of the human V kappa A18 gene polymorphism in Caucasians, blacks and Eskimos. New functional alleles and evidence for evolutionary selection of a more restricted antibody repertoire

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Immunoglobulin gene polymorphisms are interesting because they reflect differences in the available antibody repertoire which may affect the susceptibility to specific infections. Until recently, the human V kappa gene, A18, was known as a nonfunctional gene only. In this study, we cloned and sequenced four apparently functional alleles and determined the gene frequencies in three well-defined populations: Danish Caucasians, eastern Greenland Eskimos and Mozambican blacks. The A18b allele that was recently described in Native American Navajos by Atkinson et al. was found in all three populations with gene frequencies of 8%, 45% and 23% in Caucasians, Eskimos and blacks, respectively. Conversely, the frequencies of the nonfunctional A18a allele were 92%, 55% and 57%. Further, three new A18 alleles, c, d, and e were found exclusively in blacks, among whom they had an total frequency of 19%. These data indicate that both the A18a and A18b alleles originated before the diversification of Africans and non-Africans 90,000 years ago, whereas the A18c, A18d and A18e alleles may have a more recent origin. The functionality of the A18b allele was documented by the demonstration of properly rearranged and somatically hypermutated A18b messenger RNA present in the blood lymphocytes of individuals carrying this allele. The expression clearly exceeded that of a known functional V gene, A2, indicating that functional A18 alleles contribute significantly to the available antibody repertoire. In this context, it is surprising that the functional A18b allele apparently has been negatively selected in the Caucasian population, among whom 85% completely lack a functional gene.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftTissue Antigens
Vol/bind49
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)595-604
Antal sider10
ISSN0001-2815
StatusUdgivet - jun. 1997

ID: 202982073