Structural diversity of the classical H-2 genes: K, D, and L

J. K. Pullen, R. M. Horton, Z. Cai, L. R. Pease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Twenty-three class I DNA sequences, representing alleles of the H-2K, D, and L loci, were analyzed to assess patterns of nucleotide and amino acid diversity. Comparisons of the allelic and nonallelic sequences revealed locus specificity in regions encoding the leader peptides and the carboxyl-terminal segments of the Ag presenting molecules. Analyses focusing on the sequences that determine the Ag binding domains revealed weak or insignificant allelic associations, a finding that is in sharp contrast to previously observed relationships among the homologous human sequences. The amino acid positions exhibiting high diversity in the encoded glycoproteins in both mice and humans are localized primarily to the Ag binding site. In the mouse, diverse amino acids were positioned similarly in the K and D/L glycoproteins, although in humans, the A and B glycoproteins exhibit distinctive differences in their locations within the Ag binding site. The absence of locus specificity among the sequences that determine the Ag binding domains of the mouse is consistent with the hypothesis that ectopic gene conversion leads to interlocus exchange of class I sequences. Comparable interlocus exchanges among human class I genes have not played a similar role in shaping human A and B sequences. The basis of this difference between mice and humans is not clear. The nature of amino acid substitutions distinguishing class I loci in mice and humans are comparable, and the role of natural selection in determining diversity appears to be similar in the two species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-967
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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