Comprehensive characterization of MHC class II haplotypes in Mauritian cynomolgus macaques
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There are currently no nonhuman primate models with fully defined major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II genetics. We recently showed that six common MHC haplotypes account for essentially all MHC diversity in cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) from the island of Mauritius. In this study, we employ complementary DNA cloning and sequencing to comprehensively characterize full length MHC class II alleles expressed at the Mafa-DPA, -DPB, -DQA, -DQB, -DRA, and -DRB loci on the six common haplotypes. We describe 34 full-length MHC class II alleles, 12 of which are completely novel. Polymorphism was evident at all six loci including DPA, a locus thought to be monomorphic in rhesus macaques. Similar to other Old World monkeys, Mauritian cynomolgus macaques (MCM) share MHC class II allelic lineages with humans at the DQ and DR loci, but not at the DP loci. Additionally, we identified extensive sharing of MHC class II alleles between MCM and other nonhuman primates. The characterization of these full-length-expressed MHC class II alleles will enable researchers to generate MHC class II transferent cell lines, tetramers, and other molecular reagents that can be used to explore CD4+ T lymphocyte responses in MCM.