Identification of a mouse male-specific transplantation antigen, H-Y

Nature. 1995 Aug 24;376(6542):695-8. doi: 10.1038/376695a0.


The male-specific transplantation antigen, H-Y, causes rejection of male tissue grafts by genotypically identical female mice and contributes to the rejection of human leukocyte antigen-matched male organ grafts by human females. Although first recognized 40 years ago, the identity of H-Y has remained elusive. T cells detect several distinct H-Y epitopes, and these are probably peptides, derived from intracellular proteins, that are presented at the cell surface with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. In the mouse, the gene(s) controlling H-Y expression (Hya) are located on the short arm of the Y chromosome between the zinc-finger genes Zfy-1 and Zfy-2. We have recently identified Smcy, a ubiquitously expressed gene, in this region and its X-chromosome homologue, Smcx. Here we report that Smcy encodes an H-YKk epitope that is defined by the octamer peptide TENSGKDI: no similar peptide is found in Smcx. These findings provide a genetic basis for the antigenic difference between males and females that contributes towards a tissue transplant rejection response.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cosmids
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • H-Y Antigen / genetics*
  • H-Y Antigen / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sex Characteristics
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Transcription Factors
  • X Chromosome*
  • Y Chromosome*
  • Zinc Fingers / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Epitopes
  • H-Y Antigen
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zfy1 protein, mouse
  • Zfy2 protein, mouse