This study brings new information on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class III sub-region genes in Old World camels and integrates current knowledge of the MHC region into a comprehensive overview for Old World camels. Out of the MHC class III genes characterized, TNFA and the LY6 gene family showed high levels of conservation, characteristic for MHC class III loci in general. For comparison, an MHC class II gene TAP1, not coding for antigen presenting molecules but functionally related to MHC antigen presenting functions was studied. TAP1 had many SNPs, even higher than the MHC class I and II genes encoding antigen presenting molecules. Based on this knowledge and using new camel genomic resources, we constructed an improved genomic map of the entire MHC region of Old World camels. The MHC class III sub-region shows a standard organization similar to that of pig or cattle. The overall genomic structure of the camel MHC is more similar to pig MHC than to cattle MHC. This conclusion is supported by differences in the organization of the MHC class II sub-region, absence of functional DY genes, different organization of MIC genes in the MHC class I sub-region, and generally closer evolutionary relationships of camel and porcine MHC gene sequences analyzed so far.
Keywords: Bactrian camel; MHC; Old World camels; SNP; camels; dromedary; major histocompatibility complex.