Conventional phylogenetic trees for the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1 alleles constructed by the neighbor-joining (Saitou and Nei 1987) and UPGMA (Sneath and Sokal 1973) methods using nucleotide sequences of the DRB1 alleles suggest that DRB1*0701 may have diverged from other DRB1 alleles before the separation of the human and chimpanzee species, because of a large number of nucleotide changes in DRB1*0701 compared with any of the other DRB1 alleles. Here we show new evidence that the haplotypes centering on DRB1*0701 and DRB1*04 alleles are the most homologous. This suggests that these haplotypes have derived from the common ancestral haplotype, and that they have likely retained complete linkage disequilibrium even after the divergence of the DRB1*0701 and DRB1*04 allelic lineages. Together with the corresponding haplotype carrying chimpanzee DRB1*0701, which has a high sequence homology to HLA-DRB1*0701, these haplotypes reveal that: (1) the DRB1*04 allelic lineage may have been generated from the DRB1*0701 lineage after the separation of the human and chimpanzee species; (2) the DRB1*04 allelic lineage possibly has a higher substitution rate of DRB1 compared with pseudogene and neutral region; (3) there could be a significant difference in the substitution rate of DRB1 between the DRB1*0701 and DRB1*04 allelic lineages. Based on the difference between the present and previous results, we would like to propose that phylogenetic studies using not only nucleotide sequences of the DRB1 alleles but also haplotypes centering on the alleles should be conducted for understanding detailed phylogenetic relationships of the DRB1 alleles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes