The most primitive vertebrates with jaws possess highly polymorphic MHC class I genes comparable to those of humans

Kazuhiko Okamura, Mitsuru Ototake, Teruyuki Nakanishi, Yoshikazu Kurosawa, Keiichiro Hashimoto

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We report the isolation and extensive analysis of highly polymorphic MHC class I genes from sharks (Triakis scyllia), which belong to the most primitive vertebrate group with jaws, the cartilaginous fish. Predicted complete peptide-binding domains showed retention of the critical amino acid residues that would interact with antigenic peptide termini and revealed extensive allelic polymorphisms comparable to those of classic human MHC class I molecules. Mosaic structures were apparent in these domains, suggesting recombinational mechanisms to create allelic diversity. The present study demonstrates the establishment of the basic strategy for antigen-presentation employed by MHC class I molecules and documents complete divergence of two polymorphic MHC classes at a phylogenetically primitive stage of vertebrate evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-790
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 12-1997


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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