Shared class II MHC polymorphisms between humans and chimpanzees

Weimin Fan, Masanori Kasahara, Jutta Gutknecht, Dagmar Klein, Werner E. Mayer, Margreet Jonker, Jan Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


To gain an insight into the evolution of the major histocompatibility complex alleles, three DRB and one DRA genes were isolated from chimpanzee cDNA libraries. The nucleotide sequences of the chimpanzee DRB (ChLA-DRB) genes were then compared with those of the available HLA-DRB alleles by constructing unrooted phylogenetic trees. All three ChLA-DRB genes were found to be more closely related to certain HLA-DRB alleles than unrelated HLA-DRB alleles are to each other. Since available evidence does not support the convergent evolution of MHC alleles, this result is consistent with the idea that closely related ChLA-DRB and HLA-DRB alleles are derived from common ancestral alleles, the existence of which predates the divergence of human and chimpanzee lineages. The predicted amino acid sequences of mature ChLA-DRA and HLA-DRA molecules differ by only one amino acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-121
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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