The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a cluster of genes present in all vertebrate species, including man. This gene complex controls a variety of critical immune functions.
The MHC in mice is located on chromosome 17 and includes about 4000 kb of DNA. This segment of the DNA encodes three different classes of proteins: class I and class II which are integral cell-surface glycoproteins, and class III which encode serum components of the complement system. The class I molecules are the classical transplantation antigens (encoded by the K, D, and L regions of the kHC) and influence the behavior of the cytotoxic T lymphocytes, whereas the class II antigens are the la antigens which regulate immune recognition and antigen presentation by B cells, T cells and macrophages. The I region of the MHC which encodes the la antigens, is further divided into I-A and I-E. The class I and class II genes are highly polymorphic. It is estimated that over 50 alleles exist for the K, D, Aa, Ag and Eg genes.
This paper will attempt to review the early literature regarding the MHC of the mouse and explore their functional significance as it relates to immune regulation and induction of disease.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XI. Genetics of reproduction, lactation, growth, adaptation, disease, and parasite resistance., , 593–613, 1986
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