, Volume 66, Issue 9–10, pp 581–587 | Cite as

High diversity of MIC genes in non-human primates

  • Alice Meyer
  • Raphael Carapito
  • Louise Ott
  • Mirjana Radosavljevic
  • Philippe Georgel
  • Erin J. Adams
  • Peter Parham
  • Ronald E. Bontrop
  • Antoine Blancher
  • Seiamak BahramEmail author
Brief Communication


The human MHC class I (MHC-I) chain-related genes A and B (MICA and MICB) encode stress-induced glycoproteins, ligands for the activating receptor NKG2D. They display an unusually high degree of polymorphism, next only to that of classical MHC-I. The functional relevance and selective pressure behind this peculiar polymorphism, which is quite distinct from that of classical MHC-I, remain largely unknown. This study increases the repertoire of allelic sequences determined for the MIC genes of non-human primates. Sequencing (mainly exons 2, 3, 4, 5) MIC genes of 72 Macaca fascicularis (Mafa), 63 Pan troglodytes (Patr), and 18 Gorilla gorilla (Gogo) individuals led to the identification of 35, 14, and 3 new alleles, respectively. Additionally, we confirm the existence of three independent MIC genes in M. fascicularis, i.e., Mafa-MICA, Mafa-MICB, and Mafa-MICB/A, the latter being a hybrid of Mafa-MICB and Mafa-MICA. By multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis, we further demonstrate that the present day MIC genes most likely derive from a single human MICB-like ancestral gene.


MHC class I chain-related genes Gorilla gorilla Pan troglodytes Macaca fascicularis Allelic diversity 



We wish to thank Dr. Alejandro P. Rooney for the primate samples. This work is published under the framework of the LABEX TRANSPLANEX [ANR-11-LABX-0070_TRANSPLANTEX] which benefits from the funding of the French government, funds managed by the French National Research Agency (ANR) as part of the “Investments for the future” program. Additional support was provided by Genomax, the Strasbourg School of Medicine Next Generation Sequencing center, the French Ministry of Research, and the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF).

Supplementary material

251_2014_791_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (1.2 mb)
Supplementary Table 1 GenBank accession numbers of Mafa, Patr and Gogo MIC genes (JPEG 1.21 MB).
251_2014_791_MOESM2_ESM.docx (25 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1 Multiple alignment of exon 5 of human MICB and Mafa-MICBThe human MICA reference sequence (Hu-MICA*001; GenBank accession number X92841) is used as reference. GCT triplets are underlined (DOCX 25.4 kb).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Meyer
    • 1
  • Raphael Carapito
    • 1
  • Louise Ott
    • 1
  • Mirjana Radosavljevic
    • 1
  • Philippe Georgel
    • 1
  • Erin J. Adams
    • 2
  • Peter Parham
    • 3
  • Ronald E. Bontrop
    • 4
  • Antoine Blancher
    • 5
    • 6
  • Seiamak Bahram
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’ImmunoRhumatologie Moléculaire, INSERM UMR_S1109, Plateforme GENOMAX, LabEx Transplantex, Centre de Recherche d’Immunologie et d’Hématologie. Faculté de Médecine, Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg (FMTS)Université de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Structural Biology and Microbiology & ImmunologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  4. 4.Department of Comparative GeneticsBiomedical Primate Research CenterRijswijkThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Laboratoire d’immunogénétique Moléculaire EA3034Université Paul SabatierToulouseFrance
  6. 6.Laboratoire d’immunologie, CHU de ToulouseHôpital de RangueilToulouseFrance

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