Retinoid X receptors (RXRs) are zinc finger-containing nuclear transcription factors. They belong to the nuclear receptor superfamily that contains retinoid receptors, vitamin D receptors, thyroid hormone receptors, and steroid hormone receptors as well as the so-called orphan receptors. We previously mapped all three RXR genes on mouse chromosomes, using a panel of Mus spretus-Mus musculus interspecific backcross mice: Namely, the RXRA- gene (Rxra) on Chr 2 near the centromere, the RXRB gene (Rxrb) on Chr 17 in the H2 region, and the RXRG gene (Rxrg) on distal Chr 1. Using cosmid clones that cover the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region, we determined the precise physical map positions of the gene encoding mouse and human RXRB, respectively. The mouse gene (Rxrb) maps between H2-Ke4 and H2-Ke5: namely, immediately telomeric to H2-Ke4 which encodes a histidine-rich transmembrane protein, and 12 kilobases centromeric to H2-Ke5 which is expressed in lymphoid tissues. Rxrb and H2-Ke4 are transcribed into opposite directions from a CpG-rich promoter of about 250 base pairs. This gene organization is well conserved also in the human genome at the HLA-DP subregion of CHr 6p, underscoring the strong conservation of the gene organization in the MHC region between the two mammals.
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