[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a genome reference of the African green monkey or vervet (Chlorocebus aethiops). This
member of the Old World monkey (OWM) superfamily is uniquely valuable for genetic investigations of
simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), of which it is the most abundant natural host species, and of a wide
range of health-related phenotypes assessed in Caribbean vervets (C. a. sabaeus), whose numbers have
Downloaded from genome.cshlp.org on September 16, 2015 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
expanded dramatically since Europeans introduced small numbers of their ancestors from West Africa
during the colonial era. We use the reference to characterize the genomic relationship between vervets
and other primates, the intrageneric phylogeny of vervet subspecies, and genome-wide structural
variations of a pedigreed C. a. sabaeus population. Through comparative analyses with human and rhesus
macaque, we characterize at high resolution the unique chromosomal fission events that differentiate the
vervets and their close relatives from most other catarrhine primates, in whom karyotype is highly
conserved. We also provide a summary of transposable elements and contrast these with the rhesus
macaque and human. Analysis of sequenced genomes representing each of the main vervet subspecies
supports previously hypothesized relationships between these populations, which range across most of
sub-Saharan Africa, while uncovering high levels of genetic diversity within each. Sequence-based
analyses of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) polymorphisms reveal extremely low diversity in
Caribbean C. a. sabaeus vervets, as compared to vervets from putatively ancestral West African regions.
In the C. a. sabaeus research population we discover the first structural variations that are in some cases
predicted to have a deleterious effect; future studies will determine the phenotypic impact of these
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a genome reference of the African green monkey or vervet (Chlorocebus aethiops). This member of the Old World monkey (OWM) superfamily is uniquely valuable for genetic investigations of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), of which it is the most abundant natural host species, and of a wide range of health-related phenotypes assessed in Caribbean vervets (C. a. sabaeus), whose numbers have expanded dramatically since Europeans introduced small numbers of their ancestors from West Africa during the colonial era. We use the reference to characterize the genomic relationship between vervets and other primates, the intrageneric phylogeny of vervet subspecies, and genome-wide structural variations of a pedigreed C. a. sabaeus population. Through comparative analyses with human and rhesus macaque, we characterize at high resolution the unique chromosomal fission events that differentiate the vervets and their close relatives from most other catarrhine primates, in whom karyotype is highly conserved. We also provide a summary of transposable elements and contrast these with the rhesus macaque and human. Analysis of sequenced genomes representing each of the main vervet subspecies supports previously hypothesized relationships between these populations, which range across most of sub-Saharan Africa, while uncovering high levels of genetic diversity within each. Sequence-based analyses of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) polymorphisms reveal extremely low diversity in Caribbean C. a. sabaeus vervets, as compared to vervets from putatively ancestral West African regions. In the C. a. sabaeus research population we discover the first structural variations that are in some cases predicted to have a deleterious effect; future studies will determine
Genome Research 09/2015; DOI:10.1101/gr.192922.115 · 14.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-human primate (NHP) models of tuberculosis (TB) immunity and pathogenesis, especially rhesus and cynomolgus macaques, are particularly attractive because of the high similarity of the human and macaque immune systems. However, little is known about the MHC class II epitopes recognized in macaques, thus hindering the establishment of immune correlates of immunopathology and protective vaccination. We characterized immune responses in rhesus macaques vaccinated against and/or infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), to a panel of antigens currently in human vaccine trials. We defined 54 new immunodominant CD4(+) T cell epitopes, and noted that antigens immunodominant in humans are also immunodominant in rhesus macaques, including Rv3875 (ESAT-6) and Rv3874 (CFP10). Pedigree and inferred restriction analysis demonstrated that this phenomenon was not due to common ancestry or inbreeding, but rather presentation by common alleles, as well as, promiscuous binding. Experiments using a second cohort of rhesus macaques demonstrated that a pool of epitopes defined in the previous experiments can be used to detect T cell responses in over 75% of individual monkeys. Additionally, 100% of cynomolgus macaques, irrespective of their latent or active TB status, responded to rhesus and human defined epitope pools. Thus, these findings reveal an unexpected general repertoire overlap between MHC class II epitopes recognized in both species of macaques and in humans, showing that epitope pools defined in humans can also be used to characterize macaque responses, despite differences in species and antigen exposure. The results have general implications for the evaluation of new vaccines and diagnostics in NHPs, and immediate applicability in the setting of macaque models of TB.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although immune pressure exerted by MHC class I-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are an important determinant of outcome in pathogenic HIV and SIV infection, lack of data on MHC class I genes has hampered study of its role in natural hosts with nonpathogenic SIV infection. In this study, we cloned and characterized full-length MHC class I genes derived from the cDNA library of two unrelated naturally infected sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) in whom SIV-specific CTL epitopes were previously mapped. Twenty one full-length MHC class I alleles consisting of five MHC-A (Ceat-A), 13 MHC-B (Ceat-B), and three MHC-E (Ceat-E) alleles were identified. Sequence-specific primers (SSP) for high-throughput screening of genomic DNA by PCR were developed for 16 of the 18 Ceat-A and Ceat-B alleles. Screening of 62 SIV-negative and 123 SIV-infected sooty mangabeys at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (YNPRC) revealed the presence of up to four MHC-A and eight MHC-B alleles in individual mangabeys, indicating that similar to macaque species, mangabeys have at least two duplications of the MHC-A locus and four duplications of the MHC-B locus in the absence of an MHC-C locus. Using stable transfectants of Ceat MHC Class I alleles in the MHC-null 721.221 cell line, we identified Ceat-B*12:01 as the restricting allele of a previously reported Nef20-28 CTL epitope. Ceat-B*1201/Nef20-28 tetramers identified tetramer-positive CD8+ T lymphocytes in Ceat-B*1201-positive SIV-infected mangabeys. This study has laid the groundwork for comprehensive analysis of CTL and SIV evolution in a natural host of SIV infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology with the Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RS II platform offers the potential to obtain full-length coding regions (∼1,100-bp) from MHC class I cDNAs. Despite the relatively high error rate associated with SMRT technology, high quality sequences can be obtained by circular consensus sequencing (CCS) due to the random nature of the error profile. In the present study we first validated the ability of SMRT-CCS to accurately identify class I transcripts in Mauritian-origin cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) that have been characterized previously by cloning and Sanger-based sequencing as well as pyrosequencing approaches. We then applied this SMRT-CCS method to characterize 60 novel full-length class I transcript sequences expressed by a cohort of cynomolgus macaques from China. The SMRT-CCS method described here provides a straightforward protocol for characterization of unfragmented single-molecule cDNA transcripts that will potentially revolutionize MHC class I allele discovery in nonhuman primates and other species.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
Human immunology 05/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.humimm.2015.03.022 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) are natural SIV hosts and the presumed source of HIV-2 and SIVmac, which makes them a valuable model for HIV/SIV research. However, like other African primates, little is known about their major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genetics. In this study, we used Roche/454 and Illumina MiSeq deep sequencing in order to determine the MHC class I transcripts in a cohort of 165 sooty mangabeys from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (YNPRC). We have characterized 121 functionally full-length classical (Ceat-A and Ceat-B) and non-classical (Ceat-F and Ceat-I) alleles and have also identified 22 Ceat-A/Ceat-B haplotype chromosomal combinations. We correlated these Ceat-A/Ceat-B haplotype combinations to recently described microsatellite haplotypes from the YNPRC colony. These newly identified alleles and haplotypes establish a resource for studying cellular immunity in sooty mangabeys and provide a framework for rapidly cataloging MHC class I sequences in an understudied, yet important, nonhuman primate species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) serve as important models for human infectious disease research. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules are important to this research since they present peptides to CD4+ T cells. Despite the importance of characterizing the MHC-II alleles expressed in model species like pig-tailed macaques, to date, less than 150 MHC-II alleles have been named for the six most common classical class II loci (DRA, DRB, DQA, DQB, DPA, and DPB) in this population. Additionally, only a small percentage of these alleles are full-length, making it impossible to use the known sequence for reagent development. To address this, we developed a fast, high-throughput method to discover full-length MHC-II alleles and used it to characterize alleles in 32 pig-tailed macaques. By this method, we identified 128 total alleles across all six loci. We also performed an exon 2-based genotyping assay to validate the full-length sequencing results; this genotyping assay could be optimized for use in determining MHC-II allele frequencies in large cohorts of pig-tailed macaques.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deep sequencing has revolutionized major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I analysis of nonhuman primates by enabling high-throughput, economical, and comprehensive genotyping. Full-length MHC class I cDNA sequences, which are required to generate reagents such as MHC-peptide tetramers, cannot be directly obtained by short read deep sequencing. We combined data from two next-generation sequencing platforms to discover novel full-length MHC class I mRNA/cDNA transcripts in Chinese rhesus macaques. We first genotyped macaques by Roche/454 pyrosequencing using a 530-bp amplicon spanning the densely polymorphic exons 2 through 4 of the MHC class I loci that encode the peptide-binding region. We then mapped short paired-end 250 bp Illumina sequence reads spanning the full-length transcript to each 530-bp amplicon at high stringency and used paired-end information to reconstruct full-length allele sequences. We characterized 65 full-length sequences from six Chinese rhesus macaques. Overall, approximately 70 % of the alleles distinguished in these six animals contained new sequence information, including 29 novel transcripts. The flexibility of this approach should make full-length MHC class I allele genotyping accessible for any nonhuman primate population of interest. We are currently optimizing this method for full-length characterization of other highly polymorphic, duplicated loci such as the MHC class II DRB and killer immunoglobulin-like receptors. We anticipate that this method will facilitate rapid expansion and near completion of sequence libraries of polymorphic loci, such as MHC class I, within a few years.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene products control the repertoire of T cell responses that an individual may create against pathogens and foreign tissues. This text will review the current understanding of MHC genetics in nonhuman primates, with a focus on Mauritian-origin cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and Indian-origin rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). These closely related macaque species provide important experimental models for studies of infectious disease pathogenesis, vaccine development, and transplantation research. Recent advances resulting from the application of several cost effective, high-throughput approaches, with deep sequencing technologies have revolutionized our ability to perform MHC genotyping of large macaque cohorts. Pyrosequencing of cDNA amplicons with a Roche/454 GS Junior instrument, provides excellent resolution of MHC class I allelic variants with semi-quantitative estimates of relative levels of transcript abundance. Introduction of the Illumina MiSeq platform significantly increased the sample throughput, since the sample loading workflow is considerably less labor intensive, and each instrument run yields approximately 100-fold more sequence data. Extension of these sequencing methods from cDNA to genomic DNA amplicons further streamlines the experimental workflow and opened opportunities for retrospective MHC genotyping of banked DNA samples. To facilitate the reporting of MHC genotypes, and comparisons between groups of macaques, this text also introduces an intuitive series of abbreviated rhesus MHC haplotype designations based on a major Mamu-A or Mamu-B transcript characteristic for ancestral allele combinations. The authors believe that the use of MHC-defined macaques promises to improve the reproducibility, and predictability of results from pre-clinical studies for translation to humans.
ILAR journal / National Research Council, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources 11/2013; 54(2):196-210. DOI:10.1093/ilar/ilt036 · 2.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of Chinese-origin rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) for infectious disease immunity research is increasing, despite the relative lack of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I immunogenetics information available for this population. We determined transcript-based MHC class I haplotypes for 385 Chinese rhesus macaques from five different experimental cohorts, providing a concise representation of the full complement of MHC class I major alleles expressed by each animal. In total, 123 Mamu-A and Mamu-B haplotypes were defined in the full Chinese rhesus macaque cohort. We then performed an analysis of haplotype frequencies across the experimental cohorts of Chinese rhesus macaques, as well as a comparison against a group of 96 Indian rhesus macaques. Notably, 35 of the 51 Mamu-A and Mamu-B haplotypes observed in Indian rhesus macaques were also detected in the Chinese population, with 85% of the 385 Chinese-origin rhesus macaques expressing at least one of these class I haplotypes. This unexpected conservation of Indian rhesus macaque MHC class I haplotypes in the Chinese rhesus macaque population suggests that immunologic insights originally gleaned from studies utilizing Indian rhesus macaques may be more applicable to Chinese rhesus macaques than previously appreciated and may provide an opportunity for studies of CD8+ T cell responses between populations. It may also be possible to extend these studies across multiple species of macaques, as we found evidence of shared ancestral haplotypes between Chinese rhesus and Mauritian cynomolgus macaques.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deep sequencing technology is revolutionizing our understanding of HIV/SIV evolution. It is known that acute SIV sequence variation within CD8 T lymphocyte (CD8-TL) epitopes is similar among MHC-identical animals, but we do not know whether this persists into the chronic phase. We now determine whether chronic viral variation in MHC-identical animals infected with clonal SIV is similar throughout the entire coding sequence when using a sensitive deep sequencing approach. We pyrosequenced the entire coding sequence of the SIV genome isolated from a unique cohort of four SIVmac239-infected, MHC-identical Mauritian cynomolgus macaques (MCM) 48 weeks after infection; one MCM in the cohort became an elite controller. Among the three non-controllers, we found that genome-wide sequences were similar between animals and we detected increased sequence complexity within 64% of CD8-TL epitopes when compared to Sanger sequencing methods. When we compared sequences between the MHC-matched controller and the three non-controllers, we found the viral population in the controller was less diverse and accumulated different variants than the viral populations in the non-controllers. Importantly, we found that initial PCR amplification of viral cDNA did not significantly affect the sequences detected, suggesting that data obtained by pyrosequencing PCR-amplified viral cDNA accurately represents the diversity of sequences replicating within an animal. This demonstrates that chronic sequence diversity across the entire SIV coding sequence is similar among MHC-identical animals with comparable viral loads when infected with the same clonal virus stock. Additionally, our approach to genome-wide SIV sequencing accurately reflects the diversity of sequences present in the replicating viral population. In sum, our study suggests that genome-wide pyrosequencing of immunodeficiency viruses captures a thorough and unbiased picture of sequence diversity, and may be a useful approach to employ when evaluating which sequences to include as part of a vaccine immunogen.
PLoS ONE 10/2012; 7(10):e47818. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0047818 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relative contribution of direct and indirect allorecognition pathways to chronic rejection of allogeneic organ transplants in primates remains unclear. In this study, we evaluated T and B cell alloresponses in cynomolgus monkeys that had received combined kidney/bone marrow allografts and myeloablative immunosuppressive treatments. We measured donor-specific direct and indirect T cell responses and alloantibody production in monkeys (n = 5) that did not reject their transplant acutely but developed chronic humoral rejection (CHR) and in tolerant recipients (n = 4) that never displayed signs of CHR. All CHR recipients exhibited high levels of anti-donor Abs and mounted potent direct T cell alloresponses in vitro. Such direct alloreactivity could be detected for more than 1 y after transplantation. In contrast, only two of five monkeys with CHR had a detectable indirect alloresponse. No indirect alloresponse by T cells and no alloantibody responses were found in any of the tolerant monkeys. Only one of four tolerant monkeys displayed a direct T cell alloresponse. These observations indicate that direct T cell alloresponses can be sustained for prolonged periods posttransplantation and result in alloantibody production and chronic rejection of kidney transplants, even in the absence of detectable indirect alloreactivity.
The Journal of Immunology 09/2011; 187(9):4589-97. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1003253 · 4.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MHC class I proteins are partly responsible for shaping the magnitude and focus of the adaptive cellular immune response. In humans, conventional wisdom suggests that the HLA-A, -B, and -C alleles are equally expressed on the majority of cell types. While we currently have a thorough understanding of how total MHC class I expression varies in different tissues, it has been difficult to examine expression of single MHC class I alleles due to the homogeneity of MHC class I sequences. It is unclear how cDNA species are expressed in distinct cell subsets in humans and particularly in macaques which transcribe upwards of 20 distinct MHC class I alleles at variable levels.
We examined MHC gene expression in human and macaque leukocyte subsets. In humans, while we detected overall differences in locus transcription, we found that transcription of MHC class I genes was consistent across the leukocyte subsets we studied with only small differences detected. In contrast, transcription of certain MHC cDNA species in macaques varied dramatically by up to 45% between different subsets. Although the Mafa-B134:02 RNA is virtually undetectable in CD4+ T cells, it represents over 45% of class I transcripts in CD14+ monocytes. We observed parallel MHC transcription differences in rhesus macaques. Finally, we analyzed expression of select MHC proteins at the cell surface using fluorescent peptides. This technique confirmed results from the transcriptional analysis and demonstrated that other MHC proteins, known to restrict SIV-specific responses, are also differentially expressed among distinct leukocyte subsets.
We assessed MHC class I transcription and expression in human and macaque leukocyte subsets. Until now, it has been difficult to examine MHC class I allele expression due to the similarity of MHC class I sequences. Using two novel techniques we showed that expression varies among distinct leukocyte subsets of macaques but does not vary dramatically in the human cell subsets we examined. These findings suggest pathogen tropism may have a profound impact on the shape and focus of the MHC class I restricted CD8+ T cell response in macaques.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While HIV-1-specific cellular immunity is thought to be critical for the suppression of viral replication, the correlates of protection have not yet been determined. Rhesus macaques (RM) are an important animal model for the study and development of vaccines against HIV/AIDS. Our laboratory has helped to develop and study DNA-based vaccines in which recent technological advances, including genetic optimization and in vivo electroporation (EP), have helped to dramatically boost their immunogenicity. In this study, RMs were immunized with a DNA vaccine including individual plasmids encoding SIV gag, env, and pol alone, or in combination with a molecular adjuvant, plasmid DNA expressing the chemokine ligand 5 (RANTES), followed by EP. Along with standard immunological assays, flow-based activation analysis without ex vivo restimulation and high-throughput gene expression analysis was performed. Strong cellular immunity was induced by vaccination which was supported by all assays including PBMC microarray analysis that identified the up-regulation of 563 gene sequences including those involved in interferon signaling. Furthermore, 699 gene sequences were differentially regulated in these groups at peak viremia following SIVmac251 challenge. We observed that the RANTES-adjuvanted animals were significantly better at suppressing viral replication during chronic infection and exhibited a distinct pattern of gene expression which included immune cell-trafficking and cell cycle genes. Furthermore, a greater percentage of vaccine-induced central memory CD8+ T-cells capable of an activated phenotype were detected in these animals as measured by activation analysis. Thus, co-immunization with the RANTES molecular adjuvant followed by EP led to the generation of cellular immunity that was transcriptionally distinct and had a greater protective efficacy than its DNA alone counterpart. Furthermore, activation analysis and high-throughput gene expression data may provide better insight into mechanisms of viral control than may be observed using standard immunological assays.
PLoS ONE 06/2011; 6(6):e19681. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0019681 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, the use of cynomolgus macaques in biomedical research has increased greatly. However, with the exception of the Mauritian population, knowledge of the MHC class II genetics of the species remains limited. Here, using cDNA cloning and Sanger sequencing, we identified 127 full-length MHC class II alleles in a group of 12 Indonesian and 12 Vietnamese cynomolgus macaques. Forty two of these were completely novel to cynomolgus macaques while 61 extended the sequence of previously identified alleles from partial to full length. This more than doubles the number of full-length cynomolgus macaque MHC class II alleles available in GenBank, significantly expanding the allele library for the species and laying the groundwork for future evolutionary and functional studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected macaques are the preferred animal model for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
vaccines that elicit CD8+ T cell responses. Unlike humans, whose CD8+ T cell responses are restricted by a maximum of six HLA class I alleles, macaques express up to 20 distinct major histocompatibility
complex class I (MHC-I) sequences. Interestingly, only a subset of macaque MHC-I sequences are transcriptionally abundant
in peripheral blood lymphocytes. We hypothesized that highly transcribed MHC-I sequences are principally responsible for restricting
SIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses. To examine this hypothesis, we measured SIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses in MHC-I homozygous Mauritian cynomolgus macaques. Each of eight CD8+ T cell responses defined by full-proteome gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay were restricted
by four of the five transcripts that are transcriptionally abundant (>1% of total MHC-I transcripts in peripheral blood lymphocytes).
The five transcriptionally rare transcripts shared by these animals did not restrict any detectable CD8+ T cell responses. Further, seven CD8+ T cell responses were defined by identifying peptide binding motifs of the three most frequent MHC-I transcripts on the M3
haplotype. Combined, these results suggest that transcriptionally abundant MHC-I transcripts are principally responsible for
restricting SIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses. Thus, only a subset of the thousands of known MHC-I alleles in macaques should be prioritized for CD8+ T cell epitope characterization.
Journal of Virology 03/2011; 85(7):3250-61. DOI:10.1128/JVI.02355-10 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To test the graft-promoting effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in a cynomolgus monkey model of islet/bone marrow transplantation.
Cynomolgus MSCs were obtained from iliac crest aspirate and characterized through passage 11 for phenotype, gene expression, differentiation potential, and karyotype. Allogeneic donor MSCs were cotransplanted intraportally with islets on postoperative day (POD) 0 and intravenously with donor marrow on PODs 5 and 11. Recipients were followed for stabilization of blood glucose levels, reduction of exogenous insulin requirement (EIR), C-peptide levels, changes in peripheral blood T regulatory cells, and chimerism. Destabilization of glycemia and increases in EIR were used as signs of rejection; additional intravenous MSCs were administered to test the effect on reversal of rejection.
MSC phenotype and a normal karyotype were observed through passage 11. IL-6, IL-10, vascular endothelial growth factor, TGF-β, hepatocyte growth factor, and galectin-1 gene expression levels varied among donors. MSC treatment significantly enhanced islet engraftment and function at 1 month posttransplant (n = 8), as compared with animals that received islets without MSCs (n = 3). Additional infusions of donor or third-party MSCs resulted in reversal of rejection episodes and prolongation of islet function in two animals. Stable islet allograft function was associated with increased numbers of regulatory T-cells in peripheral blood.
MSCs may provide an important approach for enhancement of islet engraftment, thereby decreasing the numbers of islets needed to achieve insulin independence. Furthermore, MSCs may serve as a new, safe, and effective antirejection therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I alleles of nonhuman primates have been associated with disease susceptibility, resistance, and resolution. Here, using high-resolution pyrosequencing, we characterized MHC class I transcripts expressed in Mauritian cynomolgus macaques (MCM), a nonhuman primate population with restricted MHC diversity. Using this approach, we identified 67 distinct MHC class I transcripts encoded by the seven most frequent MCM MHC class I haplotypes, 40 (60%) of which span the complete open reading frames. These results double the number of MHC class I sequences previously defined by cloning and Sanger sequencing of cDNA-PCR products and provide a rapid, high-throughput, and economical method for MHC characterization. Overall, this approach significantly expanded our knowledge of MCM haplotypes and will facilitate future studies on disease pathogenesis and protective cellular immunity.