, Volume 59, Issue 7, pp 603-611
Date: 16 May 2007

Chicken CD69 and CD94/NKG2-like genes in a chromosomal region syntenic to mammalian natural killer gene complex

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Abstract

In mammals, natural killer (NK) cell C-type lectin receptors were encoded in a gene cluster called natural killer gene complex (NKC). The NKC is not reported in chicken yet. Instead, NK receptor genes were found in the major histocompatibility complex. In this study, two novel chicken C-type lectin-like receptor genes were identified in a region on chromosome 1 that is syntenic to mammalian NKC region. The chromosomal locations were validated with fluorescent in situ hybridization. Based on 3D structure modeling, sequence homology, chromosomal location, and phlylogenetic analysis, one receptor is the orthologue of mammalian cluster of differentiation 69 (CD69), and the other is highly homologous to CD94 and NKG2. Like CD94/NKG2 gene found in teleostean fishes, chicken CD94/NKG2 has the features of both human CD94 and NKG2A. Unlike mammalian NKC, these two chicken C-type lectin receptors are not closely linked but separated by 42 million base pairs according to the chicken draft genome sequence. The arrangement of several other genes that are located outside the mammalian NKC is conserved among chicken, human, and mouse. The chicken NK C-type lectin-like receptors in the NKC syntenic region indicate that this chromosomal region existed before the divergence between mammals and aves.