Murine major histocompatibility complex class-I mutants: molecular analysis and structure-function implications.


The class-I mutants have provided a model system for understanding the generation of diversity of the genes encoding the histocompatibility molecules K, D, and L, and the relationship of their structure to function. The complex nature of the alterations found in Kb molecules from mutant mice has been documented at the nucleic acid level for eight mutants. The clustered changes in the mutant genes are consistent with the hypothesis that genetic recombination between class-I genes generates the Kb mutants. Techniques using synthetic oligonucleotide probes to mutant DNA sequence demonstrated that other class-I genes were available as donors for interaction with the Kb gene to produce the mutations. Intriguingly, donor genes found in the K region (K1) and the D region (Db), as well as the Qa regions (Q4, Q10), were capable of the interactions. The amount of genetic transfer to Kb from other class-I donor genes may range from a potential minimum of 5 nucleotides to a potential maximum of 95 nucleotides. Genealogical analysis of several bm mutants has further indicated that at least some, if not all, of the gene interaction events generating Kb mutations occurred during mitotic amplification of the germ cells. Genetic recombination among class-I genes occurring in nature to the extent observed for the Kbm mutants could readily generate mosaic transplantation genes containing sequences derived from other class-I genes. Thus, it seems likely that genetic interaction plays a major role in the diversification and ongoing evolution of the MHC. The localization of altered amino acids in the in vivo mutant Kb molecules has directed our attention to recognition regions on the Kb product that play a major role in determining alloreactivity and H-2 associative recognition. The replacement of one or a few amino acids in either of the postulated recognition regions located in the alpha 1 domain (residues 70-90) or alpha 2 domain (residues 150-180) can have marked effects on biological function. While the majority of monoclonal antibodies recognize epitopes in one or the other recognition region, CTL recognize determinants dependent on the apparent interaction of amino acids located in both regions. These overall conclusions are supported to a large extent by studies on mutants derived from several sources, i.e. spontaneous mutants, mutagen-induced somatic variants, and products of hybrid H-2 genes. Studies of in vitro variants can provide a more refined approach for analysis of structure-function relationships through the introduction of minimal biochemical changes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)


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