, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 351-362
Date: 16 Feb 2011

Characterization and allelic polymorphisms of rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) IgG Fc receptor genes

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Abstract

Macaque models are invaluable for AIDS research. Indeed, initial development of HIV-1 vaccines relies heavily on simian immunodeficiency virus-infected rhesus macaques. Neutralizing antibodies, a major component of anti-HIV protective responses, ultimately interact with Fc receptors on phagocytic and natural killer cells to eliminate the pathogen. Despite the major role that Fc receptors play in protective responses, there is very limited information available on these molecules in rhesus macaques. Therefore, in this study, rhesus macaque CD32 (FcγRII) and CD64 (FcγRI) homologues were genetically characterized. In addition, presence of CD16 (FcγRIII), CD32, and CD64 allelic polymorphisms were determined in a group of nine animals. Results from this study show that the predicted structures of macaque CD32 and CD64 are highly similar to their human counterparts. Macaque and human CD32 and CD64 extracellular domains are 88–90% and 94–95% homologous, respectively. Although all cysteines are conserved between the two species, macaque CD32 exhibits two additional N-linked glycosylation sites, whereas CD64 lacks three of them when compared to humans. Five CD32, three CD64, and three CD16 distinct allelic sequences were indentified in the nine animals examined, indicating a relatively high level of polymorphism in macaque Fcγ receptors. Together, these results validate rhesus macaques as models for vaccine development and antibody responses, while at the same time, underscoring the need to take into account the high degree of genetic heterogeneity present in this species when designing experimental protocols.