The HLA genomic loci map: expression, interaction, diversity and disease

J Hum Genet. 2009 Jan;54(1):15-39. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2008.5. Epub 2009 Jan 9.


The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) super-locus is a genomic region in the chromosomal position 6p21 that encodes the six classical transplantation HLA genes and at least 132 protein coding genes that have important roles in the regulation of the immune system as well as some other fundamental molecular and cellular processes. This small segment of the human genome has been associated with more than 100 different diseases, including common diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and various other autoimmune disorders. The first complete and continuous HLA 3.6 Mb genomic sequence was reported in 1999 with the annotation of 224 gene loci, including coding and non-coding genes that were reviewed extensively in 2004. In this review, we present (1) an updated list of all the HLA gene symbols, gene names, expression status, Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) numbers, including new genes, and latest changes to gene names and symbols, (2) a regional analysis of the extended class I, class I, class III, class II and extended class II subregions, (3) a summary of the interspersed repeats (retrotransposons and transposons), (4) examples of the sequence diversity between different HLA haplotypes, (5) intra- and extra-HLA gene interactions and (6) some of the HLA gene expression profiles and HLA genes associated with autoimmune and infectious diseases. Overall, the degrees and types of HLA super-locus coordinated gene expression profiles and gene variations have yet to be fully elucidated, integrated and defined for the processes involved with normal cellular and tissue physiology, inflammatory and immune responses, and autoimmune and infectious diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Disease / genetics*
  • Genetic Loci / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Variation*
  • HLA Antigens / genetics*
  • Humans


  • HLA Antigens