Human leukocyte antigen-A, -B, and -Cw polymorphism in a Berber population from North Morocco using sequence-based typing
D. Piancatelli1, A. Canossi1, A. Aureli1, K. Oumhani2, T. Del Beato1, M. Di Rocco1, G. Liberatore1, A. Tessitore3, K. Witter4, R. El Aouad2, D. Adorno1*

Class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA) polymorphism was examined in a Berber population from North Morocco, named Metalsa (ME). All data were obtained at high-resolution level, using sequence-based typing. The most frequent alleles were: HLA-A*0201 and A*0101; HLA-B*44 (B*4403 and B*4402); B*0801 and the B*50 allele group (B*5001 and B*5002); HLA-Cw*0602; and Cw*07 group (Cw*070101, Cw*070102, Cw*0702, Cw*0704, and Cw*0706), and Cw*040101. The novel HLA-B*570302 allele was identified. It differs at position 486 and position 855 from B*570301, resulting in synonymous Thr and Val. The analysis also evidenced some alleles common in Africans (A*3402, A*6802, A*7401, B*1503, B*4102, B*4202, B*7801, B*5802, Cw*1701, and Cw*1703) and some uncommon alleles (A*3004, B*2702, B*2703, B*5001,02, B*3503, and Cw*0706). The predominant HLA-A-Cw-B-DRB1-extended haplotypes in ME population were A*0101-Cw*0501-B*4402-DRB1*0402, A*240201-Cw*0701-B*0801-DRB1*030101, A*2301-Cw*040101-B*4403-DRB1*040501, A*0201-Cw*040101-B*4403-DRB1*1302, and A*3002-Cw*0602-B*5002-DRB1*0406. This study demonstrates a strong relatedness of ME to other Moroccan and North African populations, some characteristics of sub-Saharan Africans and evidenced the influence of various immigrations during centuries. Nevertheless, this study highlights some unique genetic traits of the ME population compared to other ethnic groups within Morocco, which could be of great interest for clinical aims, transplantation, and diseases.