Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract A degree of conservation of the genes located between class II and class I [central major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes] is apparent among mammalian species including primates and the mouse. Few others have been analyzed. The caprine MHC is of particular interest, since it has recently been observed that susceptibility to a lentivirus-induced polyarthritis (caprine arthritis) segregates with serologically defined MHC class I antigens. This arthritis resembles, in a number of respects, rheumatoid arthritis in man. Human cDNA probes were used to examine the caprine central MHC and class I and II genes by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) in order to define the polymorphism and linkage of central MHC genes to class I and class II genes. An outbred population of dairy goats (Saanen, British Alpine, Anglo Nubian, and Toggenberg) was examined for class I and class II RFLPs. Both regions were found to be highly polymorphic. The number of fragments hybridizing to an HLA-B7 probe after Eco RI, Bam HI, Bgl II, or Hind III digestion suggests there may be 10–13 class I genes. The degree of polymorphism was comparable to that reported in the mouse. Limited polymorphism was found in the central MHC genes. The caprine C4 and CYP21 genes were duplicated and demonstrated RFLP with Bam HI, Hind III, Eco RV, and Taq I. An infrequent Taq I C2 polymorphism was found. PFGE revealed substantial conservation of both the order and linkage of the central MHC genes when compared with mous and man. C4, C2, CYP21, HSP70, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) genes are all located within 800 kilobase (kb) of the class I loci. Distant from the class I region, the C4, C2, and CYP21 genes are linked on a short genomic segment (180 kb Not I and 190 kb Pvu I fragments). HSP70 cohybridizes with the complement genes on a 380 kb Mlu I fragment. Linkage of HSP70, TNF, and class I genes was found on a single Not I fragment (610 kb). TNF and class I cohybridize on Pvu I (730 kb) and Not I (610 kb) fragments. Conservation of a similar central MHC genomic structure across species argues for functional interaction between the central MHC genes. We postulate selection for these central MHC genes through their role as non antigen-specific regulators of immune response.
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