Identification of a novel HLA-DQA1 null allele, DQA1*0403N, from an East African woman

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We report a novel DQA1 allele (DQA1*0403N) identified during sequence-based HLA-DQA1 typing of a Kenyan population. The new allele is identical to DQA1*0401 at exon 2 except for a single-nucleotide substitution at codon 53, changing it from lysine to a stop codon (CAA→TAA). The substitution at codon 53 was confirmed by sequencing two separate polymerase chain reaction products and by sequencing multiple clones obtained following TOPO-TA cloning. The resulting stop codon at position of codon 53 in exon 2 is predicted to produce a non-functional DQA1 α-chain. The new allele has been named by the WHO nomenclature committee as DQA1*0403N. This is the first report of a null allele detected in the DQA1 gene.

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