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Dev Comp Immunol. 2009 Mar;33(3):362-74. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Aug 27.

Molecular genetics of the swine major histocompatibility complex, the SLA complex.

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  • 1USDA, ARS, BARC, APDL, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.


The swine major histocompatibility complex (MHC) or swine leukocyte antigen (SLA) complex is one of the most gene-dense regions in the swine genome. It consists of three major gene clusters, the SLA class I, class III and class II regions, that span approximately 1.1, 0.7 and 0.5Mb, respectively, making the swine MHC the smallest among mammalian MHC so far examined and the only one known to span the centromere. This review summarizes recent updates to the Immuno Polymorphism Database-MHC (IPD-MHC) website ( which serves as the repository for maintaining a list of all SLA recognized genes and their allelic sequences. It reviews the expression of SLA proteins on cell subsets and their role in antigen presentation and regulating immune responses. It concludes by discussing the role of SLA genes in swine models of transplantation, xenotransplantation, cancer and allergy and in swine production traits and responses to infectious disease and vaccines.

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