Defining the Turkey MHC: Sequence and genes of the B locus

Lee D. Chaves, Stacy B. Krueth, Kent M. Reed

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The MHC, the most polymorphic and gene dense region in the vertebrate genome, contains many loci essential to immunity. In mammals, this region spans ∼4 Mb. Studies of avian species have found the MHC to be greatly reduced in size and gene content with an overall locus organization differing from that of mammals. The chicken MHC has been mapped to two distinct regions (MHC-B and -Y) of a single chromosome. MHC-B haplotypes possess tightly linked genes encoding the classical MHC molecules and few other disease resistance genes. Furthermore, chicken haplotypes possess a dominantly expressed class I and class II B locus that have a significant effect on the progression or regression of pathogenic disease. In this study, we present the MHC-B region of the turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) as a similarly constricted locus, with 34 genes identified within a 0.2-Mb region in near-perfect synteny with that of the chicken MHC-B. Notable differences between the two species are three BG and class II B loci in the turkey compared with one BG and two class II B loci in the chicken MHC-B. The relative size and high level of similarity of the turkey MHC in relation to that of the chicken suggest that similar associations with disease susceptibility and resistance may also be found in turkey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6530-6537
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2009


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