Differential HLA allele frequency in Mycobacterium africanum vs Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Mali

HLA. 2019 Jan;93(1):24-31. doi: 10.1111/tan.13448. Epub 2019 Jan 2.


Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), however, the distribution and frequency of MTBC lineages and sublineages vary in different parts of the globe. Mycobacterium africanum, a member of MTBC is responsible for a large percentage of TB cases in West Africa, however, it is rarely identified outside of this part of the World. Whether or not differential HLA polymorphism (an important host factor) is contributing to the geographic restriction of M. africanum to West Africa is unknown. Here, we conducted a cohort study in Mali of newly diagnosed individuals with active pulmonary TB and normal healthy controls. The MTBC isolates were spoligotyped to determine the TB study groups (M. tuberculosis sensu stricto LAM10 and M. africanum), and HLA typing was performed on peripheral blood. Unlike previous reports on other populations, we found that HLA class-I alleles were significantly associated with active TB disease in this population. HLA-B alleles (B*07:02, B*08:01, B*14:02, B*15:03, B*15:10, B*18:01, B*42:01, B*42:02, B*51:01 and B*81:01) were significantly associated with M. africanum (40%-45%) and M. tuberculosis (75%) compared with healthy controls. Many HLA-A alleles (A*02:05, A*34:02, A*66:01 and A*68:02) were also associated with both TB groups (65%-70%). However, many class II HLA-DR variants were found to be associated with M. tuberculosis but not M. africanum with the exception of the DRB1*03:01, which was associated with both groups. The differential HLA distribution observed in this study might be at least partially responsible for the geographical restriction of M. africanum infections to West Africa.

Keywords: M. africanum; HLA; Mali; West Africa; tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype*
  • HLA Antigens / genetics*
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mali
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / physiology*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Prospective Studies
  • Species Specificity
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / genetics*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology
  • Young Adult


  • HLA Antigens