, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 145-156

R4 regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) identify an ancient MHC-linked synteny group

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Abstract

Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) are key regulators of G protein signaling. RGS proteins of the R4 RGS group are composed of a mere RGS domain and are mainly involved in immune response modulation. In both human and mouse, most genes encoding the R4 RGS proteins are located in the same region of chromosome 1. We show here that the RGS1/RGS16 neighborhood constitutes a synteny group well conserved across tetrapods and closely linked to the MHC paralogon of chromosome 1. Genes located in the RGS1/RGS16 region have paralogs close to the MHC on chromosome 6 or close to the other MHC paralogons. In amphioxus, a cephalochordate, these genes possess orthologs that are located in the same scaffolds as a number of markers defining the proto-MHC in this species (Abi-Rached et al., Nat Genet 31:100–115, 2002). We therefore propose that the RGS1/RGS16 region provides useful markers to investigate the origins and the evolution of the MHC. In addition, we show that some genes of the region appear to have immune functions not only in human, but also in Xenopus.