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Polymorphic Alu insertions within the Major Histocompatibility Complex class I genomic region: a brief review.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cytogenetic and Genome Research
1424-859X
Publisher
S. Karger AG
Publication Date
Volume
110
Issue
1-4
Pages
193–202
Identifiers
PMID: 16093672
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Most polymorphic Alu insertions (POALINs) belong to a subgroup of the Alu multicopy retrotransposon family of short interspersed nucleotide elements (SINEs) that are categorized as AluYb8 and AluYa5. The number of AluYb8/AluYa5 members (approximately 4,492 copies) is significantly less than the approximately one million fixed Alu copies per human genome. We have studied the presence of POALINs within the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I region on the short arm of chromosome 6 (6p21.3) because this region has a high gene density, many genes with immune system functions, large sequence variations and diversity, duplications and redundancy, and a strong association with more than 100 different diseases. Since little is known about POALINs within the MHC genomic region, we undertook to identify some of the members of the AluYb8/AluYa5 subfamily and to study their frequency of distribution and genetic characteristics in different populations. As a result of our comparative genomic analyses, we identified the insertion sites for five POALINs distributed within the MHC class I region. This brief review outlines the locations of the insertions and sequence features of the five MHC POALINs, their single site and haplotype frequencies in different geographic populations, and their association with different HLA class I genes and disease. We show that the MHC POALINs have a potential value as lineage and linkage markers for the study of human population genetics, disease associations, genomic diversity and evolution.

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