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Lydie Brunet

  • Deciphering the fine nucleotide diversity of full HLA class I and class II genes in a well-documented population from sub-Saharan Africa. HLA 2017 Nov;():. 10.1111/tan.13180.

    abstract

    With the aim to understand how NGS improves both our assessment of genetic variation within populations and our knowledge on HLA molecular evolution, we sequenced and analysed 8 HLA loci in a well-documented population from sub-Saharan Africa (Mandenka). The results of full-gene NGS-MiSeq sequencing compared to those obtained by traditional typing techniques or limited sequencing strategies showed that segregating sites located outside exon 2 are crucial to describe not only class I, but also class II population diversity. A comprehensive analysis of exons 2, 3, 4 and 5 nucleotide diversity at the 8 HLA loci revealed remarkable differences among these gene regions, notably a greater variation concentrated in the antigen recognition sites of class I exons 3 and some class II exons 2, likely associated to their peptide-presentation function, a lower diversity of HLA-C exon 3, possibly related to its role as a KIR ligand, and a peculiar molecular diversity of HLA-A exon 2, revealing demographic signals. Based on full-length HLA sequences, we also propose that the most frequent DRB1 allele in the studied population, DRB1*13:04, emerged from an allelic conversion involving 3 potential alleles as donors and DRB1*11:02:01 as recipient. Finally, our analysis revealed a high occurrence of the DRB1*13:04~DQA1*05:05:01~DQB1*03:19 haplotype, possibly resulting from a selective sweep due to protection to Onchorcerca volvulus, a prevalent pathogen in West Africa. This study unveils highly relevant information on the molecular evolution of HLA genes in relation to their immune function, calling for similar analyses in other populations living in contrasting environments.

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  • The HLA-B landscape of Africa: signatures of pathogen-driven selection and molecular identification of candidate alleles to malaria protection. Mol. Ecol. 2017 Sep;():. 10.1111/mec.14366.

    abstract

    Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes play a key role in the immune response to infectious diseases, some of which are highly prevalent in specific environments, like malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Former case-control studies showed that one particular HLA-B allele, B*53, was associated to malaria protection in Gambia, but this hypothesis was not tested so far within a population genetics framework. In this study, our objective was to assess whether pathogen-driven selection associated to malaria contributed to shape the HLA-B genetic landscape of Africa. To that aim, we first typed the HLA-A and -B loci in 484 individuals from 11 populations living in different environments across the Sahel, and we analysed these data together with those available for 29 other populations by using several approaches including linear modelling on various genetic, geographic and environmental parameters. In addition to relevant signatures of populations' demography and migrations history in the genetic differentiation patterns of both HLA-A and -B loci, we found that the frequencies of three HLA alleles, B*53, B*78 and A*74, were significantly associated to Plasmodium falciparum malaria prevalence, suggesting their increase through pathogen-driven selection in malaria-endemic environments. The two HLA-B alleles were further identified, by high-throughput sequencing, as B*53:01:01 (in putative linkage disequilibrium with one HLA-C allele, C*04:01:01:01) and B*78:01 in all but one individuals tested, making them appropriate candidates to malaria protection. These results highlight the role of environmental factors in the evolution of the HLA polymorphism and open key perspectives for functional studies focusing on HLA peptide-binding properties. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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