In the zebrafish, Danio rerio, and other teleosts, the class I and class II loci of the major histocompatibility complex (Mhc) reside on different chromosomes. To shed light on the events that might have generated this difference from tetrapods, in which these two types of loci are clustered in a single chromosomal region, the organization of the class II loci in linkage group 8 of the zebrafish was determined by the characterization of contigs of PAC clones. Three contigs were defined: DAB, DCB, and DBB. The 350-kb-long DAB contig contained only four genes: DDB, DAB, SLC7A4, and DAA. The 150-kb-long DCB contig contained the DCB, DCA, and fz10 genes at an undetermined distance from the DAB contig. And the 120-kb-long DBB contig comprised the DBB gene presumably in another linkage group. The low gene density of the linkage group 8 contigs, contrasting with the high gene density of the zebrafish class I region, and the close association with genes [SLC7A4 coding for an amino acid transporter, and fz10 (frizzled 10) coding for a receptor of the WNT glycoprotein] that are not linked with the tetrapod Mhc, is interpreted to mean that the separation of the class II from class I loci in teleosts occurred by translocation rather than by genomic or chromosomal duplication.
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