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Rev Immunogenet. 1999;1(1):105-23.

Polymorphism and evolution of HLA class I and II genes and molecules.

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Anthony Nolan Research Institute, The Royal Free Hospital, London, UK.


Genes in the HLA complex, the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC), encode polymorphic HLA class I and II molecules that help T lymphocytes recognise and respond to foreign antigens. Certain HLA class I allotypes also regulate the response of natural killer cells. HLA class I and II molecules with little or no polymorphism contribute a variety of functions to the immune response, as do class I molecules coded by genes outside of the HLA region. Knowledge of the organisation of HLA class I and II genes, of the nucleotide sequences of their alleles, and the three-dimensional structures of their protein products, has facilitated analysis of the evolution and polymorphism of HLA class I and II genes and molecules. In turn, these analyses have provided insight into the mechanisms and selective forces driving change in the HLA complex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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