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Immunogenetics. 2002 Nov;54(8):556-61. Epub 2002 Oct 24.

Baboon immunoglobulin constant region heavy chains: identification of four IGHG genes.

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Department of Biology, Georgia State University, MSC8L0389, 33 Gilmer St SE Unit 8, Atlanta, GA 30303-3088, USA.


The increasing use of nonhuman primate models in biomedical research and especially in vaccine development requires the characterization of their immunoglobulin genes and corresponding products. Therefore, we sequenced, cloned and characterized the four immunoglobulin gamma chain constant region genes ( IGHG) present in baboons. These four genes were designated IGHG1, IGHG2, IGHG3 and IGHG4 on the basis of sequence similarities with the four human genes encoding the IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4 subclasses and the three known rhesus macaque IGHG genes. Specifically, the baboon IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4 sequences exhibit 90.3%, 88.3%, 86.7% and 89.6% amino acid identity to their human counterpart. The percent of amino acid identity of baboon IgG1, IgG2 and IgG3 to the corresponding rhesus macaque sequences is 98.5, 93.1 and 94.4, respectively. Therefore, baboon and rhesus macaque IGHG genes are highly homologous to each other. The majority of differences existing between baboon and human sequences are clustered in the hinge region, with the upper hinge being the most diverse and containing several proline residues. Similar to rhesus macaques, the hinge regions of all baboon IGHG genes consist of a single exon, whereas in humans the IgG3 molecule is encoded by multiple exons. These results confirm the evolutionary instability of the hinge region and indicate that functional properties associated with the hinge regions of baboon and human IgG molecules might differ between the two species.

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