heteropolymer = MHC class I, A
polymer_type = heterodimer
protein_type = cell surface receptor
function = Immune recognition and

image_source = Illustration of HLA-A | SubunitCount = 2
subunit1 = α
gene1 = [http://www.genenames.org/data/hgnc_data.php?match=HLA-A HLA-A]
locus1 = Chromosome 6p21.3
subunit2 = β2M
gene2 = B2M
locus2 = Chromosome 15q22

HLA-A are a group of human leukocyte antigens (HLA) that are by the HLA-A locus on human chromosome 6p. The HLA genes constitute the major histocompatibility gene complex (MHC) of human. HLA-A is a component of certain MHC class I cell surface receptor isoforms that resides on most cells of the body. The receptor is a , and is composed of a heavy, α chain, and smaller, β chain. The alpha chain is encoded by a variant HLA-A gene and the beta chain (β2-microglobulin) is compose by the invariant Beta-2 microglobulin gene.

MHC Class I molecules are part of a process that presents polypeptides from host of foreign derivation to the immune system. Normally if a peptide of foreign, pathogenic, source is detected it alerts the immune system that the cell may be infected with a virus, and thus target the cell for destruction.

For humans, as in most mammalian populations, MHC Class I molecules are extremely variable in their primary structure, and HLA-A is ranked among the genes in humans with the fastest evolving coding sequence. After typing millions of individuals 100s of variant alleles and isoforms have been identified.cite web |url=http://www.ebi.ac.uk/imgt/hla/stats.html |title=IMGT/HLA Database |format= |work= |accessdate=2008-08-14(update July 2008)] This level of variation on MHC Class I is the primary cause of transplant rejection, as random transplantation between donor and host are unlikely to result in a matching of HLA-A, B or C antigens.

HLA-A gene

The HLA-A gene is part of the Human MHC complex on chromosome 6. The region is at the telomeric end of the HLA complex between the HLA-G and HLA-E genes. HLA-A gene encodes the larger, α-chain, constituent of HLA-A. Variation of HLA-A α-chain in certain ways is key to HLA function. This variation promotes diversity of class I recognition in the individual and also promotes genetic diversity in the population. This diversity allows more types of foreign, virus or cancer, antigens to be 'presented' on the cell surface, but also allows a subset of the population to survive if a new virus spreads rapidly through the population.

These changes are also key to inter-individual "histo"compatibility of organs and tissues. Difference in exposed structures of homologous proteins between individuals gives rise to antigen-antibody reactions when tissues are transplanted. This form of "antigenicity" gives rise to serotypes in tissue recipients. Refined serotypes are what scientist have used for grouping HLA.

There are a large number of variant alleles of the gene. The HLA-A gene was discovered after a long process of determining MHC antigens. The original alleles discovered for MHC class I were not separated according to genes. The first 15 HL A1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 contained antigens from many HLA loci. HL A1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11 were later found limited to a maximum of 2 in any given person. For example, a person could have A1, A2, A7, A8 but not A1, A2, A3 and A11 or A7, A8, A14, A15. Given the exclusion HLA-A alleles were sorted according A and B, creating HLA-A and HLA-B serotype groups, in late 1970s the the first A and B isoforms were finally sequenced.cite journal |author=Trägårdh L, Rask L, Wiman K, Peterson PA |title=Primary structure of pooled, papain-solubilized HLA-A, -B, and -C antigens |journal=Scand. J. Immunol. |volume=10 |issue=6 |pages=597–600 |year=1979 |pmid=542807 |doi= |url=] cite journal |author=Trowsdale J, Lee J, Kelly A, "et al" |title=Isolation and sequencing of a cDNA clone for a human HLA-ABC antigen |journal=Mol. Biol. Med. |volume=2 |issue=1 |pages=53–61 |year=1984 |month=February |pmid=6549041 |doi= |url=]


There are a large number of alleles, so that classification by serotype simplifies catagorization.For example HLA-AHAwA|0101, HAwA|0102, HAwA|0103, . . . HAwA|0130 are assigned to the serotype A1.cite web |url=http://www.ebi.ac.uk/imgt/hla/allele.html |title=Allele search IMGT/HLA Database |format= |work= |accessdate=2008-08-14 Type "A*" to retrieve A alleles] The A*01 prefix signifies that the gene products (expressed proteins) of the alleles are primarily identified by the A1 serotype or most similar to alleles recognized by the serotype. There is a useful logic in this classification, HLA alleles evolve by a process called 'gene conversion' in which a few (<50 nucleotides) are swapped between HLA haplotypes and often results in the change of 1 to 3 nucleotides on the converted chromosome. Infrequently there are recombination events that cross-over a gene in the style of recombination we are familiar with in genetics. This can result in entirely new serotypes and alleles. Less frequently single nucleotide polymorphisms alters the gene (intro or exon) but can cause changes unseen at the protein level. These cryptic alleles are designated with further extension such as AHAwA|01010101 or AHAwA|01010102, but they are still A*0101 allele, also.

There are 673 gene alleles capable of producing 527 HLA-A isoforms and 46 nulls.cite web |url=http://www.ebi.ac.uk/imgt/hla/stats.html |title=IMGT/HLA Database |format= |work= |accessdate=2008-08-14(update July 2008)]

Assignment of alleles

HLA alleles and specificity are assigned as consequence of workshops and working groups. Some Allele groups have been updated with recent information from the [http://www.ebi.ac.uk/imgt/hla/allele.html IMGT/HLA Database] cite journal | author = Marsh SG, Albert ED, Bodmer WF, Bontrop RE, Dupont B, Erlich HA, Geraghty DE, Hansen JA, Hurley CK, Mach B, Mayr WR, Parham P, Petersdorf EW, Sasazuki T, Schreuder GM, Strominger JL, Svejgaard A, Terasaki PI, and Trowsdale J. | title = Nomenclature for factors of the HLA System, 2004 | journal = Tissue antigens | volume = 65 | pages = 301–369 | year = 2005 | pmid = 15787720 | doi = 10.1111/j.1399-0039.2005.00379.x] Explanation - within each allele group there are alleles that are recognized by the serological typing for that group (e.g. A24-serotype) some within the group may also recognize the broad antigen typing (A9, A10, A19, A28) or only the broad antigen typing, some by alternative serological within the group (e.g. A2403), and some by no serological method. Obviously some groups are more closely related than other groups, and this is often reflected in broad antigen reactivity.


Natural function

MHC Class I molecules present smaller peptides, generally 9 amino acids in length, but somewhat longer molecules are tolerated, to the immune system. Several target cells include CD8+ T-lymphocytes. In response to signalling these lymphocytes result in programmed cell death (apoptosis). This mechanism is the result of responses to viral infection or intracellular microbial infections in which, as a means of preventing propagation, affected cells are killed and the antigens are presented to the immune system for Class II presentation and antibody development. Over a short period of time antibodies develop that can neutralize the ability of viruses and invasive bacteria to invade cells.

Other activities

One major activity of HLA-A receptors resulted from the era of organ transplantation initiated after WWII. By the 1960s it became evident that factors on the donated organs and tissues resulted in an inflammatory destruction of those transplants by the host. The MHC class I receptors were a primary target on donor tissues. As a consequence donated organs need to be matched with regard to HLA between donor and recipient.

In disease

Associated Diseases

HLA often suffer a peculiar problem in genetics, many of the haplotypes associated with disease are very large, often millions of nucleotides. Therefore associations with disease often mark a variable gene that is close to a susceptibility gene for a disease. Most of the susceptibility for inflammatory disease lie between HLA-B locus and HLA-DP locus with a substantial fraction linked to DR-DQ haplotypes. There are a few diseases however that link to the region telomeric from HLA-B which contains most of the Class I loci, HLA-F, HLA-G, and HLA-E as well as other genes.

Diseases by Haplotype

A*02:Cw*16 : higher viral load in HIVcite journal | author = Noble J, Valdes A, Bugawan T, Apple R, Thomson G, Erlich H | title = The HLA class I A locus affects susceptibility to type 1 diabetes | journal = Hum Immunol | volume = 63 | issue = 8 | pages = 657–64 | year = 2002 | pmid = 12121673 | doi = 10.1016/S0198-8859(02)00421-4] A*23:B*14 : higher viral load in HIV A*23:Cw*07 : higher viral load in HIV A*30:Cw*03 : higher viral load in HIV


External links

* [http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/DNAanthro/ Molecular Anthropology Yahoo Group]
* [http://www.allelefrequencies.net HLA Allele and Haplotype Frequency Database]

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