MhcDRB-sequences from cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) of different origin

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Cynomolgus macaques are frequently used in biomedical research. However, in contrast to their closest relative, the rhesus macaque, little is known about their Mhc genes except for the DQB1 locus. In this study, 33 DRB-sequences belonging to 17 allelic lineages were detected in a total of 68 macaques, 58 originating from Mauritius and 10 from China. The majority of the sequences were detected in the few macaques from China, confirming the low degree of genetic variation in macaques from Mauritius. In summary, the DRB region in cynomolgus macaques is polymorphic. The sequences belong in general to the same allelic lineages as in their closest relative, the rhesus macaque. Two exon 2 DNA sequences were identical in both species and may represent a trans-species origin. In addition, protein sequences of members of the DRB*W1 lineage seem to be rather conserved in the three macaque species examined so far. Six DRB-haplotypes were detected in the macaques from Mauritius. While single DRB-alleles or some protein sequences seemed to be conserved among macaque species, we could not detect any evidence for a trans-species conservation of a complete DRB region. Overall, the data indicate that reorganization of the DRB region by recombination is a major force in creating diversity in cynomolgus macaques as it is in rhesus macaques.

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