Molecular and functional characterization of genes encoding horse MHC class I antigens
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Sequence and functional analyses were undertaken on two cDNAs and a genomic clone encoding horse major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. All of the clones were isolated from a single horse that is homozygous for all known horse MHC class I and class II antigens. The two cDNAs (clones 8-9 and 1-29) were isolated from a lymphocyte library and encode polymorphic MHC antigens from two loci. The genomic cosmid clone, isolated from a sperm library, contains the 8-9 gene. All three genes were expressed in mouse L-cells and were recognized by alloantisera and, for the cDNAs, by alloreactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes. A total of 3815 bp of the genomic clone were sequenced, extending from 429 bp upstream (5′) of the leader peptide through the 3′ untranslated region. Promoter region motifs and an intron-exon structure characteristic of MHC class I genes of other species were found. A subclone containing 407 bp of the promoter region was inserted into a chloramphenicol acetyl transferase reporter plasmid, tested in transient transfection assays, and found to have promoter activity in heterologous cells. This genomic clone will enable detailed studies of MHC class I gene regulation in horse trophoblasts, and in horse retroviral infections.
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