Diversity of MHC class I genes in Burmese-origin rhesus macaques.
ABSTRACT Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are widely used in developing a strategy for vaccination against human immunodeficiency virus by using simian immunodeficiency virus infection as a model system. Because the genome diversity of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is well known to control the immune responsiveness to foreign antigens, MHC loci in Indian- and Chinese-origin macaques used in the experiments have been characterized, and it was revealed that the diversity of MHC in macaques was larger than the human MHC. To further characterize the diversity of Mamu-A and Mamu-B loci, we investigated a total of 73 different sequences of Mamu-A, 83 sequences of Mamu-B, and 15 sequences of Mamu-I cDNAs isolated from Burmese-origin macaques. It was found that there were one to five expressing genes in each locus. Among the Mamu-A, Mamu-B, and Mamu-I sequences, 44 (60.2%), 45 (54.2%), and 8 (53.3%), respectively, were novel, and most of the other known alleles were identical to those reported from Chinese- or Indian-origin macaques, demonstrating a genetic mixture between the geographically distinct populations of present day China and India. In addition, it was found that a Mamu haplotype contained at least two highly transcribed Mamu-A genes, because multiple Mamu-A1 cDNAs were obtained from one haplotype. These findings further revealed the diversity and complexity of MHC locus in the rhesus macaques.