To improve the results gained by serotyping rhesus macaque major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens, molecular typing techniques have been established for class I and II genes. Like the rhesus macaque Mamu-DRB loci, the Mamu-A and -B are not only polymorphic but also polygenic. As a consequence, sequence-based typing of these genes is time-consuming. Therefore, eight MHC-linked microsatellites, or short tandem repeats (STRs), were evaluated for their use in haplotype characterization. Polymorphism analyses in rhesus macaques of Indian and Chinese origin showed high STR allelic diversity in both populations but different patterns of allele frequency distribution between the groups. Pedigree data for class I and II loci and the eight STRs allowed us to determine extended MHC haplotypes in rhesus macaque breeding groups. STR sequencing and comparisons with the complete rhesus macaque MHC genomic map allowed the exact positioning of the markers. Strong linkage disequilibria were observed between Mamu-DR and -DQ loci and adjacent STRs. Microsatellite typing provides an efficient, robust, and quick method of genotyping and deriving MHC haplotypes for rhesus macaques regardless of their geographical origin. The incorporation of MHC-linked STRs into routine genetic tests will contribute to efforts to improve the genetic characterization of the rhesus macaque for biomedical research and can provide comparative information about the evolution of the MHC region.
- Non-human primates
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