Immunogenetics

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 270–278 | Cite as

Conserved organization of the ILT/LIR gene family within the polymorphic human leukocyte receptor complex

  • Neil T. Young
  • Flavio Canavez
  • Markus Uhrberg
  • Benny P. Shum
  • Peter Parham
Original Paper

Abstract.

The human leukocyte receptor complex (LRC) at Chromosome 19q13.4 encodes Ig superfamily proteins which regulate the function of various hematopoietic cell types. We investigated characteristics of the Ig-like transcript (ILT)/leukocyte Ig-like receptor (LIR) group of LRC genes in comparison with the other major LRC loci encoding the killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIRs). In direct contrast to KIR genes, the ILT/LIR loci of ethnically diverse individuals did not display haplotypic variations in gene number. Investigation of gene expression identified novel cDNA sequences related to the ILT2/LIR1, ILT4/LIR2, ILT3/LIR5, and ILT7 loci, while phylogenetic analysis revealed two distinct lineages of ILT/LIR genes. These two lineages differ in both the nature and extent of their sequence polymorphism. The presence of certain transcription factor-related motifs in the 5′ untranslated region of ILT/LIR cDNAs correlates with the specific cell types in which particular ILT/LIR genes are expressed. Although extensive gene duplications and conversion events have apparently forged the LRC, our results indicate striking conservation in the organization of the ILT/LIR genes when compared with the related and closely linked KIR genes. This suggests the evolutionary maintenance of a significant function consistent with the cellular distribution of the ILT/LIR proteins.

Genes Leukocyte receptor complex LIR ILT Polymorphism 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil T. Young
    • 1
  • Flavio Canavez
    • 1
  • Markus Uhrberg
    • 1
  • Benny P. Shum
    • 1
  • Peter Parham
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Structural Biology and Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

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