As part of an ongoing elucidation of rainbow trout major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, the polymorphism of two MHC class Ib loci was analyzed. These loci, Onmy-UCA and Onmy-UDA, are situated head-to-tail and share more than 89% nucleotide identity in their open reading frames. They share 80% identity with some trout Ia alleles. The deduced amino acid sequences suggest that the UCA and UDA molecules are transported to endosomal compartments and may bind peptides in their binding groove. Our survey revealed seven UCA and eight UDA alleles. Similarity indices overlap when comparing within and between UCA and UDA alleles and some cross-locus motif variation is observed. In most trout both UCA and UDA transcripts were found. However, there probably is functional redundancy, because some trout lacked transcription of one of the two loci. Furthermore, for some UCA and UDA alleles, splicing deficiencies, early stop codons, and upstream start codons were found, which may interfere with efficient protein expression. The present study is the first extensive report on MHC class Ib polymorphism assigned to locus in ectotherm species.
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