Idiopathic achalasia is characterized by a failure of the lower esophageal sphincter to relax due to a loss of neurons in the myenteric plexus(1,2). This ultimately leads to massive dilatation and an irreversibly impaired megaesophagus. We performed a genetic association study in 1,068 achalasia cases and 4,242 controls and fine-mapped a strong MHC association signal by imputing classical HLA haplotypes and amino acid polymorphisms. An eight-residue insertion at position 227-234 in the cytoplasmic tail of HLA-DQ beta 1 (encoded by HLA-DQB1*05:03 and HLA-DQB1*06:01) confers the strongest risk for achalasia (P = 1.73 x 10(-19)). In addition, two amino acid substitutions in the. extracellular domain of HLA-DQ alpha 1 at position 41 (lysine encoded by HLA-DQA1*01:03; P = 5.60 x 10(-10)) and of HLA-DQ beta 1 at position 45 (glutamic acid encoded by HLA-DQB1*03:01 and HLA-DQB1*03:04; P = 1.20 x 10(-9)) independently confer achalasia risk. Our study implies that immune-mediated processes are involved in the pathophysiology of achalasia.