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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Aug 31;96(18):10338-43.

Mice lacking all conventional MHC class II genes.

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Department of Clinical Immunology, Rigshospitalet, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.


MHC class II (MHC-II) molecules play a central role in the selection of the T cell repertoire, in the establishment and regulation of the adaptive immune response, and in autoimmune deviation. We have generated knockout mice lacking all four of the classical murine MHC-II genes (MHCII(Delta/Delta) mice), via a large (80-kilobase) deletion of the entire class II region that was engineered by homologous recombination and Cre recombinase-mediated excision. These mice feature immune system perturbations like those of Aalpha and Abeta knockout animals, notably a dearth of CD4(+) lymphocytes in the thymus and spleen. No new anatomical or physiological abnormalities were observed in MHCII(Delta/Delta) mice. Because these animals are devoid of all classical MHC-II chains, even unpaired chains, they make excellent recipients for MHC-II transgenes from other species, avoiding the problem of interspecies cross-pairing of MHC-II chains. Therefore, they should be invaluable for engineering "humanized" mouse models of human MHC-II-associated autoimmune disorders.

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