Gene organisation, sequence variation and isochore structure at the centromeric boundary of the human MHC.

Research paper by R R Stephens, R R Horton, S S Humphray, L L Rowen, J J Trowsdale, S S Beck

Indexed on: 24 Aug '99Published on: 24 Aug '99Published in: Journal of Molecular Biology


We have mapped and sequenced the region immediately centromeric of the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC). A cluster of 13 genes/pseudogenes was identified in a 175 kb PAC linking the TAPASIN locus with the class II region. It includes two novel human genes (BING4 and SACM2L) and a thus far unnoticed human leucocyte antigen (HLA) class II pseudogene, termed HLA-DPA3. Analysis of the G+C content revealed an isochore boundary which, together with the previously reported telomeric boundary, defines the MHC class II region as one of the first completely sequenced isochores in the human genome. Comparison of the sequence with limited sequence from other cell lines shows that the high sequence variation found within the classical class II region extends beyond the identified isochore boundary leading us to propose the concept of an "extended MHC". By comparative analysis, we have precisely identified the mouse/human synteny breakpoint at the centromeric end of the extended MHC class II region between the genes HSET and PHF1.