The Evolution of MHC Class II Genes within the Genus Mus
The class II genes of the I region in the murine major histocompatibility complex (H-2) are a tightly-linked cluster of highly polymorphic genes which control immune responsiveness (reviewed by Klein 1986). A physical map of the I region has been produced, and the expressed class II genes (Aa, Aβ, Eα, and Eβ) are present on a segment of about 100 kilobases (kb) of DNA (Steinmetz et al. 1982). The Aα, Aβ, and Eβ genes are remarkably polymorphic. About 30 alleles of each gene are estimated to be prevalent in natural mouse populations (Duncan et al. 1979, Wakeland and Klein 1981), with major alleles differing in 5 to 10% of their nucleotide sequence (Benoist et al. 1983, Estess et al. 1986). Serologic studies have demonstrated that many of these alleles are globally-distributed with frequencies ranging from 1% to 10% in wild mouse populations (Gotze et al. 1980, Nadeau et al. 1981). H-2 polymorphism is thought to be advantageous in natural mouse populations due to the adaptive value of diversifying the capacities of individuals to respond to endemic microbial pathogen. However, the precise evolutionary mechanisms responsible for the production and maintenance of this polymorphism are unknown.
KeywordsEvolutionary Group Meiotic Recombination Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis Wild Mouse Mouse Population
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