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Immunogenetics. 1999 Sep;49(10):865-71.

Evidence for an HLA-C-like locus in the orangutan Pongo pygmaeus.

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Departments of Structural Biology and Microbiology & Immunology, Sherman Fairchild Building, Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5400, USA.


HLA-B and C are related class I genes which are believed to have arisen by duplication of a common ancestor. Previous study showed the presence of orthologues for both HLA-B and C in African apes but only for HLA-B in Asian apes. These observations suggested that the primate C locus evolved subsequent to the divergence of the Pongidae and Hominidae. From an analysis of orangutan Tengku two HLA-C-like alleles (Popy C*0101 and Popy C*0201) were defined as well as three HLA-B-like (Popy-B) alleles. By contrast, no Popy-C alleles were obtained from orangutan Hati, although three Popy-B alleles were defined. Thus an HLA-C-like locus exists in the orangutan (as well as a duplicated B locus), implying that the primate C locus evolved prior to the divergence of the Pongidae and Hominidae and is at least 12-13 million years old. Uncertain is whether all orangutan MHC haplotypes contain a C locus, as the failure to find C alleles in some individuals could be due to a mispairing of HLA-C-specific primers with certain Popy-C alleles. These results raise the possibilities that other primate species have a C locus and that the regulation of natural killer cells by C allotypes evolved earlier in primate evolution than has been thought.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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