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MHC-chromosome dosage effects: evidence for increased expression of Ia glycoprotein and alteration of B cell subpopulations in neonatal aneuploid chickens

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Quantitative variation in the expression of MHC-encoded class II (Ia) glycoproteins has been associated with stages of lymphocyte development and a number of disease conditions. We have used an avian MHC dosage model to study the regulation of Ia expression and the effects of quantitative variation in membrane Ia on B-cell development. Lymphocyte membrane expression of Ia glycoprotein molecules and the frequency of small-versus-large lymphocytes were examined in trisomic line chickens containing either two (disomic), three (trisomic), or four (tetrasomic) copies of the microchromosome encoding the MHC. This was accomplished by quantitative laser flow cytometry analysis of bursa-resident B lymphocytes from neonatal trisomic line chickens. The aneuploids (trisomics and tetrasomics) expressed more cell surface Ia than did normal disomic birds. Furthermore, the aneuploids exhibited a greater frequency of small B lymphocytes as compared to disomic chickens. Dual parameter analysis of Ia. quantity and cell size was undertaken to study B lymphocyte subpopulations in these birds. It was observed that the aneuploids had altered frequencies of two distinct subpopulations of cells: (1) an increased percentage of small cells which express high levels of Ia antigen and (2) a decreased percentage of large cells which express medium levels of Ia antigen. These findings support the view that MHC class II genes are regulated and expressed in a dosage-dependent manner. Therefore, increases in the number of MHC copies per cell result in the increased expression of Ia glycoprotein on bursa-resident B cells. The stepwise increase in membrane Ia on trisomic and tetrasomic B cells is correlated, and perhaps casually linked, with progressive degrees of alteration of developing B cell subpopulations in the bursa of aneuploid chicks. These events may ultimately alter the humoral immunity of the aneuploid animals.

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Correspondence to Stephen E. Bloom.

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Delany, M.E., Dietert, R.R. & Bloom, S.E. MHC-chromosome dosage effects: evidence for increased expression of Ia glycoprotein and alteration of B cell subpopulations in neonatal aneuploid chickens. Immunogenetics 27, 24–30 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00404440

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  • Quantitative Variation
  • Humoral Immunity
  • Cell Subpopulation
  • Membrane Expression
  • Lymphocyte Subpopulation