Evolution of the MHC class I genes of a New World primate from ancestral homologues of human non-classical genes

David I. Watkins, Zheng W. Chen, Austin L. Hughes, Mark G. Evans, Thomas F. Tedder, Norman L. Letvin

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124 Scopus citations

Abstract

THE products of the classical human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes (HLA-A, -B, -C) are highly polymorphic molecules that bind peptides and present them to T lymphocytes1-4. The non-polymorphic, non-classical MHC class I gene products (HLA-E, -F, -G) are not restricting elements for the majority of T lymphocytes5-7. The evolutionary relationship of the non-classical and classical MHC class I genes is unclear. Here we present the cloning and sequencing of the MHC class I genes of a New World primate, the cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus). The expressed MHC class I genes of this species are more closely related to the human non-classical HLA-G (ref. 7) gene than they are to genes of the human classical HLA-A, -B, and -C loci. These observations imply that classical and nonclassical genes do not necessarily constitute mutually exclusive groups over evolutionary time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-63
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume346
Issue number6279
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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