The orthologs of HLA-DQ and -DP genes display abundant levels of variability in macaque species
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The human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region encodes three types of class II molecules designated HLA-DR, -DQ, and -DP. Both the HLA-DQ and -DP gene region comprise a duplicated tandem of A and B genes, whereas in macaques, only one set of genes is present per region. A substantial sequencing project on the DQ and DP genes in various macaque populations resulted in the detection of previously 304 unreported full-length alleles. Phylogenetic studies showed that humans and macaques share trans-species lineages for the DQA1 and DQB1 genes, whereas the DPA1 and DPB1 lineages in macaques appear to be species-specific. Amino acid variability plot analyses revealed that each of the four genes displays more allelic variation in macaques than is encountered in humans. Moreover, the numbers of different amino acids at certain positions in the encoded proteins are higher than in humans. This phenomenon is remarkably prominent at the contact positions of the peptide-binding sites of the deduced macaque DPβ-chains. These differences in the MHC class II DP regions of macaques and humans suggest separate evolutionary mechanisms in the generation of diversity.
KeywordsMafa Mamu Mane MHC Nonhuman primates
The authors wish to thank Francisca van Hassel for preparing the figures and Donna Devine for editing this article.
This work was supported by the National Institute of Health projects (NIH/NIAID HHSN272201100013C).
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