This study characterises the expressed MHC class II DRB gene and its genetic variation in exon 2 among 59 Alpine chamois (Rupicapra r. rupicapra) from several locations in the Eastern Alps plus one population in the Western Alps. The expressed DRB gene contains all the expected characteristics including all of the conserved residues found in other mammalian species. The isolated expressed DRB gene from chamois can be considered orthologous to MHC class II DRB genes in other mammalian species. Cattle primers yielded exon 2 sequences of 284 bp length. Sequence analysis revealed 19 DRB exon 2 alleles among 59 chamois. Alleles exhibited a high degree of nucleotide and amino acid polymorphism, with most amino acid variations occurring at positions forming the peptide-binding sites. A significantly higher rate of non-synonymous (dN = 0.053+/-0.0132) than synonymous (dS = 0.007+/-0.003) substitutions indicated positive selection for diversity in the DRB locus.
Amino Acid Sequence Amino Acid Substitution/genetics Animals Binding Sites/genetics Cloning, Molecular DNA, Complementary/chemistry DNA, Complementary/genetics Exons/genetics Gene Frequency Genes, MHC Class II/genetics* Goats/genetics* Histocompatibility Antigens Class II/genetics* Molecular Sequence Data Phylogeny Polymorphism, Genetic/genetics Sequence Alignment Sequence Analysis, DNA Sequence Homology, Amino Acid