, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 479-490

A divergent non-classical class I gene conserved in salmonids

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Complementary DNA for two class I genes of the rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, were characterized. MhcOnmy-UBA*01 is similar to Onmy-UA-C32 and the classical major histocompatibility complex class I genes of other fish species, whereas Onmy-UAA*01 is divergent from all class I genes so far characterized. Onmy-UAA*01 is expressed at lower levels than Onmy-UBA*01. Although Onmy-UAA*01 exhibits restriction fragment length polymorphism on Southern blotting, the encoded protein is highly conserved. Two allotypes, which differ only by substitution at amino acid position 223 of the α3 domain, have been defined. Onmy-UAA*01 has an exon-intron organization like other class I genes and contains a Tc1-like transposon element in intron III. Orthologues of Onmy-UAA*01 have been characterized in four other species of salmonid. Between four species of Oncorhynchus, UAA*01 proteins differ by only 2–6 amino acids, whereas comparison of Oncorhynchus with Salmo trutta (brown trout) reveals 14–16 amino acid differences. The Onmy-UAA*01 gene has properties indicative of a particularly divergent non-classical class I gene.

Received: 22 September 1998 / Revised: 24 November 1998