Yonsei Med J.  1991 Mar;32(1):1-8. 10.3349/ymj.1991.32.1.1.

Immunogenetics of the HLA system

  • 1Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98104, U.S.A.


The study of the HLA system was primarily initiated to understand the basis for the histocompatibility between recipients and tissue donors. HLA typing methods are being continuously improved and biochemical and molecular typing, in particular, are expected to provide precise typing of the HLA system. Conventional HLA typing methods can define antigen specificities, while biochemical and molecular methods will provide direct allele typing that is based on the actual sequence polymorphism. The precise tissue typing will definitely improve the outcome of transplantation. Structural studies have revealed the highly polymorphic nature of the HLA system and given insight to understanding the molecular basis of the HLA polymorphism. One big immunological puzzle remaining to be answered is how T-cell receptor molecules recognize peptide antigen in conjunction with the HLA molecule. The crystallization of the T-cell receptor molecule, an experiment currently underway, will eventually reveal the structural basis of the trimolecular interaction.

MeSH Terms

Genes, MHC Class I
Genes, MHC Class II
Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/analysis/chemistry/*physiology
Histocompatibility Antigens Class II/analysis/chemistry/*physiology
Polymorphism (Genetics)
Protein Conformation
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