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Immunogenetics. 2010 May;62(5):281-93. doi: 10.1007/s00251-010-0433-4. Epub 2010 Mar 2.

Characterization of rhesus macaque KIR genotypes and haplotypes.

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Primate Genetics Laboratory, German Primate Center - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Göttingen, Germany.


Certain combinations of the killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) and major histocompatibility complex class I ligands in humans predispose carriers to a variety of diseases, requiring sophisticated genotyping of the highly polymorphic and diverse KIR and HLA genes. Particularly, KIR genotyping is challenging due to polymorphisms (allelic substitutions), genomic diversity (presence/absence of genes), and frequent duplications. Rhesus macaques are often used as important animal models of human diseases such as, e.g. AIDS. However, typing of rhesus macaque KIR genes has not been described so far. In this study, we report the identification of additional novel rhesus macaque KIR cDNA sequences and a sequence-specific KIR genotyping assay. From a cohort of four rhesus macaque families with a total of 70 individuals, we identified 25 distinct KIR genotypes. Segregation analyses of KIR genes and of two polymorphic microsatellite markers allowed the identification of 21 distinct KIR haplotypes in these families, with five to 11 segregating KIR genes per haplotype. Our analyses confirmed and extended knowledge on differential gene KIR gene content in macaques and indicate that rhesus macaque and human KIR haplotypes show a comparable level of diversity and complexity.

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