Document Type

Brief Communication


Nucleotide sequence polymorphism of the HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 class II genes was analyzed in the Kaingang and Guarani Amerindians from southern Brazil using PCR sequence-specific oligonucleotide typing methods. Four different DQA1-DQB1 haplotypes were found: DQA1*0401-DQB1*0402 (associated with DRB1*0802, DRB1 *08041, and DRB1*0807), DQA1*0501-DQB1*0301 (associated with DRB1*1602, DRB1*1413, and DRB1*1402), DQA1*03-DQB1*0302 (associated with DRB1*0404 and DRB1*0411), and DQA1*03-DQB1*03032 (associated with DRB1 *09012). These HLADQA1 and HLA-DQB1 alleles and haplotypes are common in many other populations of all major ethnic groups. Alleles and haplotypes introduced into the populations by post-Columbian admixture were seen at low frequency both in the Kaingang (3.2%) and in the Guarani (3.8%). No novel HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 alleles have thus far been identified in Amerindians. This differs from previous results for HLA-DRB1, another class II locus presenting novel alleles (i.e., alleles not found in other ethnic groups and probably generated after migration of paleo-Indians to the Americas) in the Guarani and in other South American Indian populations. The distribution of the HLA-DQ alleles and haplotypes in Amerindians indicates a weaker diversifying selective pressure on the HLADQ genes compared with HLA-DRB1 and HLA-B. The more conservative evolution of HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 compared with HLA-DRB1 is strong evidence of (still not well-defined) functional differences of these class II genes.