Deletion of complement C4 and steroid 21-hydroxylase genes in the HLA class III region

EMBO J. 1985 Oct;4(10):2547-52. doi: 10.1002/j.1460-2075.1985.tb03969.x.


Molecular maps have been prepared of the HLA region on human chromosome 6 that includes the complement C4 and steroid 21-hydroxylase genes (21-OH), using DNA of individuals deficient (QO) in either of the two forms C4A or C4B. In all, 18 haplotypes with C4A QO were examined by Southern analysis and two had deletions of 28-30 kb that included both the C4A and 21-OHA genes. Of six C4B QO haplotypes, one had a deletion that included both the C4B and 21-OHA genes. Thus, some of the C4 null alleles are due to deletion of the gene but the majority in this sample are not. Deletion occurred in two common haplotypes suggesting that in the population as a whole, C4A deficiency is due to deletion in about one-half the C4A QO haplotypes. As duplication of C4A or C4B genes does occur, the possibility that unequal cross-over could explain the C4 deletion was examined by preparing cosmid clones from the DNA of an individual typed C4A QO. A cloned genomic fragment containing the single C4B gene was isolated and found to be similar to the homologous region of a cosmid from a normal individual carrying a C4A gene. This suggests that if a cross-over has occurred it is in a region where the two genes are identical. The biological significance of the rather frequent occurrence in the population of haplotypes with C4A or C4B deletion together with the accompanying deletion of the 21-OHA gene is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Complement C4 / genetics*
  • Complement C4a
  • Complement C4b
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • Genes
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex*
  • Steroid 21-Hydroxylase / genetics*
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / genetics*


  • Complement C4
  • Complement C4a
  • Complement C4b
  • Steroid Hydroxylases
  • Steroid 21-Hydroxylase
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes