Genotyping and segregation analyses indicate the presence of only two functional MIC genes in rhesus macaques

Immunogenetics. 2007 Mar;59(3):247-51. doi: 10.1007/s00251-006-0187-1. Epub 2007 Jan 11.


MIC molecules are stress-inducible ligands of the activating receptor NKG2D, which is expressed on natural killer cells and subsets of T lymphocytes. In rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), three different MIC sequences (MIC1, MIC2, MIC3) have been described that are closely related to but, according to phylogenetic analysis, do not represent orthologues of the human MICA and MICB genes. Although a single haplotype of the rhesus macaque Mhc (Mamu) has been completely sequenced, it remained unknown so far whether these three sequences are derived from two or three Mamu-MIC genes. We genotyped a cohort of 115 rhesus macaque individuals for the presence of MIC1, MIC2, and MIC3 sequences and analysed the segregation in families. All individuals were positive for MIC2, whereas only 66.1 and 80.9 % were positive for MIC1 and MIC3, respectively. MIC1 and MIC3 sequences segregated in offspring, indicating that they behave as alleles. Thus, we conclude that two MIC genes are present in the rhesus macaque Mhc, which we propose to designate as Mamu-MICA (MIC1 and MIC3) and Mamu-MICB (MIC2). "MIC1" and "MIC3" are regarded as divergent allelic lineages of the Mamu-MICA gene. Mamu-MIC genotyping of DNA of a cohort of 68 experimentally simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques revealed no significant association of either of the two Mamu-MICA allelic lineages with differences in progression to AIDS-like symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genotype
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics*
  • Macaca mulatta / immunology*
  • Macaca mulatta / virology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology*


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • MHC class I-related chain A
  • MICB antigen