Identification of a Novel MHC Class I Gene, Mamu-AG, Expressed in the Placenta of a Primate with an Inactivated G Locus

Jonathan E. Boyson, Kristen K. Iwanaga, Thaddeus G. Golos, David I. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

Maternal tolerance of the fetal allograft remains poorly understood. In humans, expression of the highly polymorphic classical HLA-A and HLA-B loci is suppressed, while expression of the nonclassical HLA-G locus is up-regulated at the maternal-fetal interface. Like other nonclassical MHC class I molecules, HLA-G exhibits limited diversity, but certain characteristics of HLA-G distinguish it from other nonclassical MHC class I molecules: it has a truncated cytoplasmic domain, it is the product of alternatively spliced mRNAs, and it is expressed primarily in the placenta. We have examined MHC class I expression in the placenta of the rhesus monkey to determine whether this animal is a suitable model in which to study the function of HLA-G. Although the rhesus monkey possesses orthologs of many MHC class I and II loci found in humans the HLA-G ortholog is a pseudogene in this nonhuman primate species. In this study, we report the identification of a novel nonclassical MHC clasi I locus expressed in the placenta of the rhesus monkey, Mamu-AG (Macaca mulatta-AG). Although unrelated to HLA-G, Mamu-AG encodes glycoproteins with all of the characteristics of HLA-G. These Mamu-AG glycoproteins are limited in their diversity possess truncated cytoplasmic domains, are the products of alternatively spliced mRNAs, and their expression is restricted to the placenta. Taken together, these data suggest that convergent evolution may have resulted in the expression of a unique nonclassical MHC class I molecule in the rhesus monkey placenta, and that the common structural features of Mamu-AG and HLA-G may be functionally significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3311-3321
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume159
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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