Friday, May 11, 2018

(LML) HLA susceptibility locus for leprosy in medieval Europeans

Leprosy Mailing List – May 11,  2018

Ref.:    (LML) HLA susceptibility locus for leprosy in medieval Europeans

From:  Pieter AM Schreuder, Maastricht, the Netherlands

Dear Colleagues,


We like to refer to an interesting article: "Ancient DNA study reveals HLA susceptibility locus for leprosy in medieval Europeans". Krause-Kyora B, Nutsua M, Boehme L, et al. Nat Commun. 2018 May 1;9(1):1569. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03857-x.



Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae), was very common in Europe till the 16th century. Here, we perform an ancient DNA study on medieval skeletons from Denmark that show lesions specific for lepromatous leprosy (LL). First, we test the remains for M. Leprae DNA to confirm the infection status of the individuals and to assess the bacterial diversity. We assemble 10 complete M. Leprae genomes that all differ from each other. Second, we evaluate whether the human leukocyte antigen allele DRB1*15:01, a strong LL susceptibility factor in modern populations, also predisposed medieval Europeans to the disease. The comparison of genotype data from 69 M. Leprae DNA-positive LL cases with those from contemporary and medieval controls reveals a statistically significant association in both instances. In addition, we observe that DRB1*15:01 co-occurs

with DQB1*06:02 on a haplotype that is a strong risk factor for inflammatory diseases today.


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Best regards,



Pieter Schreuder



LML - S Deepak, B Naafs, S Noto and P Schreuder

LML blog link:

Contact: Dr Pieter Schreuder <<


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