RT1.L: A family of MHC class Ib genes of the rat major histocompatibility complex with a distinct promoter structure

Doris Lambracht-Washington, Heike Düvel, Lisa Hänisch, Astrid Dinkel, Kurt Wonigeit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


RT1.L class I antigens have originally been identified in LEW rats by LEW.1LV3-anti-LEW.1LM1 antisera and have been classified as nonclassical. We report now that LEW.1LV3-anti-LEW.1LM1 antisera react with three different antigens, termed RT1.L1, RT1.L2, and RT1.L3. This was found by serological analysis of a panel of transfectants expressing different class I genes of strain LEW with a LEW.1LV3-anti-LEW.1LM1 antiserum and two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs HT20 and HT21) generated in the same strain combination. The antiserum reacted with all three antigens: the two mAbs with RT1.L1 and RT1.L2, respectively. Sequence analysis showed that the genes encoding RT1.L1, RT1.L2, and RT1.L3 cluster together in a phylogenetic analysis of rat and mouse α12 sequences and that they share an unusual MHC class I promoter in which Enhancer A and B, as well as the interferon response element (IRE), are missing. Exchange of the promoter in RT1.L2 against the classical RT1.A promoter resulted in high surface expression in appropriate transfectants, indicating that the deviant promoter is responsible for the weak surface expression of the RT1.L2 gene. The very similar promoter structures of RT1.L1 and RT1.L3 are likely to contribute also to the weak expression of these genes. As RT1.L3 maps closely to the deletion in the mutant haplotype lm1, the RT1.L family can be located in the class I region extending from Bat1 to Pou5f1. Different from other allogeneic mAbs detecting known class I molecules encoded by genes of the RT1.C/E region, HT20 and HT21 react with a wide panel of strains carrying different RT1 haplotypes. This suggests that nonclassical class I genes of the RT1.L family are present in most RT1 haplotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-37
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Distinct class I promoter
  • RT1.L gene family
  • Rat MHC
  • Serological crossreactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Genetics


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