Original Paper

Immunogenetics

, Volume 62, Issue 5, pp 295-306

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The mosaic of KIR haplotypes in rhesus macaques

  • Jeroen H. BlokhuisAffiliated withDepartment of Comparative Genetics and Refinement, Biomedical Primate Research Centre Email author 
  • , Marit K. van der WielAffiliated withDepartment of Comparative Genetics and Refinement, Biomedical Primate Research Centre
  • , Gaby G. M. DoxiadisAffiliated withDepartment of Comparative Genetics and Refinement, Biomedical Primate Research Centre
  • , Ronald E. BontropAffiliated withDepartment of Comparative Genetics and Refinement, Biomedical Primate Research CentreDepartment of Biology, Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics, Utrecht University

Abstract

To further refine and improve biomedical research in rhesus macaques, it is necessary to increase our knowledge concerning both the degree of allelic variation (polymorphism) and diversity (gene copy number variation) in the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) gene cluster. Pedigreed animals in particular should be studied, as segregation data will provide clues to the linkage of particular KIR genes/alleles segregating on a haplotype and to its gene content as well. A dual strategy allowed us to screen the presence and absence of genes and the corresponding transcripts, as well as to track differences in transcription levels. On the basis of this approach, 14 diverse KIR haplotypes have been described. These haplotypes consist of multiple inhibitory and activating Mamu-KIR genes, and any gene present on one haplotype may be absent on another. This suggests that the cost of accelerated evolution by recombination may be the loss of certain framework genes on a haplotype.

Keywords

Natural killer cells MHC Comparative immunology Evolution KIR