Original articles


, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 1-11

First online:

Mhc-DRB diversity of the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)

  • M. KenterAffiliated withITRI-TNODepartment of Immunohematology and Blood Bank, Leiden University Hospital
  • , N. OttingAffiliated withITRI-TNO
  • , J. AnholtsAffiliated withDepartment of Immunohematology and Blood Bank, Leiden University Hospital
  • , M. JonkerAffiliated withITRI-TNO
  • , R. SchipperAffiliated withDepartment of Immunohematology and Blood Bank, Leiden University Hospital
  • , R. E. BontropAffiliated withITRI-TNO

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Fifty-four chimpanzee Patr-DRB and five human HLA-DRB second exons were cloned and sequenced from thirty-five chimpanzees and four B-cell lines and compared with known Mhc-DRB sequences of these two species. Equivalents of the HLA-DRB1 * 02,-DRB1 * 03, -DRB1 * 07 allelic lineages and the HLA-DRB3,-DRB4, -DRB5, -DRB6, and -DRB7 loci were all found in the chimpanzee. In addition, two chimpanzee Patr-DRB lineages (Patr-DRBX and -DRBY) were found for which no human counterparts have been described. None of the Patr-DRB sequences is identical to known HLA-DRB sequences. The Patr-DRB1 * 0702 and HLA-DRB1 * 0701 alleles are the most similar sequences in a comparison between the two species and differ by only two nucleotides out of 246 sequences. Equivalents of the HLA-DRB1 * 01,-DRB1 * 04, and -DRB1 * 09 alleles were not found in our sample of chimpanzees. A per locus comparison of the number of Patr-DRB alleles with the HLA-DRB alleles shows that the Patr-DRB3, -DRB4, -DRB5, and -DRB6 locus are, thus far, more polymorphic than ther human homologs. The polymorphism of the Patr-DRB1 locus seems to be less extensive than that reported for the HLA-DRB1 locus. Nevertheless, the Patr-DRB1 locus seems to be the most polymorphic of the Patr-DRB loci. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the HLA-DRB1 * 09 allele may have originated from a recombination between a Mhc-DRB5 allele and the DRB1 allele of a Mhc-DR7 haplotype. Although recombination seems to increase the diversity of the Patr-DRB alleles, its contribution to the generation of Patr-DRB variation is probably low. Hence, most Patr-DRB diversity presumably accumulated via recurrent point mutations. Finally, two distinct PAtr-DRB haplotypes are deduced, one of which (the chimpanzee equivalent of the HLA-Dr7 haplotype) is probably older than 6–8 million years.