Conservation of minor histocompatibility antigens between human and non-human primates

J M den Haan, R E Bontrop, J Pool, N Sherman, E Blokland, V H Engelhard, D F Hunt, E Goulmy

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It is well accepted that minor histocompatibility antigens (mHag) can function as transplantation barriers between HLA-matched individuals. Little is known about the molecular nature and evolutionary conservation of mHag. It is only very recently that the first human mHag were identified. The HLA-A2.1-restricted mHag HA-2 and the HLA-B7-restricted mHag H-Y appeared to be peptides derived from polymorphic self proteins. Here we show that the HLA-A2.1-restricted mHag HA-1, HA-2, and the H-Y peptides are conserved between man, chimpanzees and rhesus macaques. Human cytotoxic T cell clones specific for the HLA-A2.1-restricted mHag HA-1, HA-2, and H-Y recognized HLA-A2.1 gene-transfected chimpanzee and rhesus macaque cells. High-pressure liquid chromatography fractionation of HLA-A2.1-bound peptides isolated from the HLA-A2.1-transfected chimpanzee cells revealed that the chimpanzee HA-1 and HA-2 co-eluted with the human HA-1 and HA-2. Subsequent amino acid sequencing showed that the chimpanzee HA-2 peptide is identical to the human HA-2 peptide. Our functional and biochemical results demonstrate that mHag peptides are conserved for over 35 million years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2680-5
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean journal of immunology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Clone Cells
  • Conserved Sequence/immunology
  • H-Y Antigen/genetics
  • HLA-A2 Antigen/genetics
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta/genetics
  • Minor Histocompatibility Antigens/genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins/genetics
  • Pan troglodytes/genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology
  • Transfection/immunology

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