Molecular characterization of 3 MHC class II B haplotypes in the ring-necked pheasant

Håkan Wittzell, Torbjörn von Schantz, Rima Zoorob, Charles Auffray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the class II B genes in a free-ranging population of the ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus by a combination of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and DNA sequencing. Special attention was paid to the variation in the second exon, which encodes the peptide-binding beta(i)-domain. The population was introduced, but it still exhibited major histocompatibility complex polymorphism with at least three segregating class II B haplotypes and consequently six genotypes. We found two class LI B genes associated with each haplotype. The class II B genes of birds had until then only been molecularly characterized in the domestic chicken. The pheasant genes were highly variable, although one of the amplified sequences was found in two different haplotypes. Taken together, the most polymorphic positions (residues 37 and 38) were not identical in any of the predicted protein sequences, but all except one of the motifs had already been found in the domestic chicken. Structurally important features in mammalian class II B genes were generally conserved also in the pheasant sequences, but the loss of a potential salt bridge constituent (Arg(72)) in several sequences may suggest a slightly different structure of the adjacent parts of the peptide-binding groove. The pheasant genes are most closely related to the so called B-LBII family in the chicken, indicating that this represents a major line of development among avian class II B genes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-403
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1994

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Biological Sciences

Free keywords

  • selection
  • phasianus-colchicus
  • major histocompatibility complex
  • genes
  • chicken
  • parasites
  • chains
  • sequences
  • evolution
  • clones


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