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Hum Immunol. 2013 May;74(5):673-80. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Study of the KIR gene profiles and analysis of the phylogenetic relationships of Rajbanshi population of West Bengal, India.

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  • 1Cellular Immunology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of North Bengal, Raja Rammohunpur, Siliguri, West Bengal, India.


The natural killer (NK) cells have distinct receptors called killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) which are responsible for regulating NK cell responses to infections and malignancy. The extensive variations in the number and type of KIR genes can be used as a tool to understand the differentiation of populations and also for tracing genetic background. In this study, we have aimed to analyze the KIR gene polymorphism in the Rajbanshi population of West Bengal, India. To our knowledge this is the first report on the KIR gene polymorphism in the Rajbanshis, a population widely distributed in the Terai and Dooars region of West Bengal, India. Herein, we have studied the gene distribution of 14 KIR genes (KIR3DL1-3DL3, KIR 2DL1-2DL5, 2DS1-2DS5 and 3DS1) and two pseudogenes (KIR3DP1 and 2DP1). The gene frequencies and genotypic frequencies were calculated, based on which statistical analyses were performed. The presence of a considerable number of genotypic profiles suggests substantial diversity in the KIR gene pool of the Rajbanshis in the region studied. Apart from the framework genes (KIR2DL4, 3DL2, 3DL3 and 3DP1) present in all the individuals, the gene frequencies of other KIR genes varied between 0.84 and 0.15. Moreover the KIR polymorphisms of the Rajbanshis were also compared with that of available published data of the populations of other ethnicities. Though the Rajbanshi population showed a tendency to cluster with other Indian population based on KIR gene frequencies, the influence of Tibeto-Burman Lineage on their KIR genotypic profiles cannot be overlooked. Furthermore, evidences from previously published data on Y chromosome haplogroup diversity study on Rajbanshis support the view. Our results will not only help to understand the genetic background of the Rajbanshi population, but also in tracing the population migration events in the North-Eastern part of India and in illustrating the extensive genetic admixture amongst the different linguistic groups of the country and also in KIR-related disease researches.

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