Characterisation of MHC class II DRB genes in the northern tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri)

Immunogenetics. 2010 Sep;62(9):613-22. doi: 10.1007/s00251-010-0466-8. Epub 2010 Jul 27.


Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) mainly code for proteins of the immune system of jawed vertebrates. In particular, MHC class I and II cell surface proteins are crucial for the self/non-self discrimination of the adaptive immune system and are the most polymorphic genes in vertebrates. Positive selection, gene duplications and pseudogenes shape the face of the MHC and reflect a highly dynamic evolution. Here, we present for the first time data of the highly polymorphic MHC class II DRB exon 2 of a representative of the mammalian order scandentia, the northern tree shrew Tupaia belangeri. We found up to eight different alleles per individual and determined haplotype constitution by intensively studying their inheritance. The alleles were assigned to four putative loci, all of which were polymorphic. Only the most polymorphic locus was subject to positive selection within the antigen binding sites and only alleles of this locus were transcribed.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Exons / genetics*
  • Genes, MHC Class II / genetics*
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics*
  • Haplotypes / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Tupaiidae / genetics*


  • HLA-DR Antigens