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Immunogenetics. 1997;46(3):173-80.

Cw*1701 defines a divergent african HLA-C allelic lineage.

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Department of Structural Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The complete sequence of a new HLA-C allele, Cw*1701, was determined from a South African Zulu individual. Unique features that distinguish Cw*1701 from other HLA-C alleles include multiple point substitutions and an 18 nucleotide insertion in exon 5, which encodes the transmembrane domain. In a phylogenetic analysis of HLA-C sequences, Cw*1701 forms a third, distinct allelic lineage. A comparison of the transmembrane domain of Cw*1701 with other HLA-B and -C alleles reveals that duplications and deletions have been common in the evolution of these loci. A polymerase chain reaction based typing method was used to determine the distribution of this unusual allele in human populations. In contrast to the other two lineages of HLA-C alleles, the Cw*17 lineage is found at high frequencies only in populations of African descent. In addition, the HLA-B/Cw*17 haplotype diversity is higher in Africa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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