Author(s): Shilling HG, Guethlein LA, Cheng NW, Gardiner CM, Rodriguez R,
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Abstract Killer Ig-like receptor (KIR) genes are a multigene family on human chromosome 19. KIR genes occur in various combinations on different haplotypes. Additionally, KIR genes are polymorphic. To examine how allelic polymorphism diversifies KIR haplotypes with similar or identical combinations of KIR genes, we devised methods for discriminating alleles of KIR2DL1, -2DL3, -3DL1, and -3DL2. These methods were applied to 143 individuals from 34 families to define 98 independent KIR haplotypes at the allele level. Three novel 3DL2 alleles and a chimeric 3DL1/3DL2 sequence were also identified. Among the A group haplotypes were 22 different combinations of 2DL1, 2DL3, 3DL1, and 3DL2 alleles. Among the B group haplotypes that were unambiguously determined were 15 distinct haplotypes involving 9 different combinations of KIR genes. A and B haplotypes both exhibit strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) between 2DL1 and 2DL3 alleles, and between 3DL1 and 3DL2 alleles. In contrast, there was little LD between the 2DL1/2DL3 and 3DL1/3DL2 pairs that define the two halves of the KIR gene complex. The synergistic combination of allelic polymorphism and variable gene content individualize KIR genotype to an extent where unrelated individuals almost always have different KIR types. This level of diversity likely reflects strong pressure from pathogens on the human NK cell response.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Immunobiology