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Major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules are critical to adaptive immune defence mechanisms in vertebrate species and are encoded by highly polymorphic genes. Polymorphic sites are located close to the ligand-binding groove and entail MHC-I alleles with distinct binding specificities. Some efforts have been made to investigate the relationship between polymorphism and protein stability. However, less is known about the relationship between polymorphism and MHC-I co-evolutionary constraints. Using Direct Coupling Analysis (DCA) we found that co-evolution analysis accurately pinpoints structural contacts, although the protein family is restricted to vertebrates and comprises less than five hundred species, and that the co-evolutionary signal is mainly driven by cross-species changes, and not intra-species polymorphism. Moreover, we show that polymorphic sites in human preferentially avoid co-evolving residues, as well as residues involved in protein stability. These results suggest that sites displaying high polymorphism may also have been selected during vertebrates' evolution to avoid those under co-evolutionary constraints and thereby maximize their mutability.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PLoS computational biology
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Molecules that contain multiple active sites which are used to catalyze more than one enzymatic reaction. Proteins in this class generally contain multiple active sites within a single peptide chain and may also contain more than one enzymatically active subunit. They are distinguished from MULTIENZYME COMPLEXES in that their subunits are not found as distinct enzymes.
Large, transmembrane, non-covalently linked glycoproteins (alpha and beta). Both chains can be polymorphic although there is more structural variation in the beta chains. The class II antigens in humans are called HLA-D ANTIGENS and are coded by a gene on chromosome 6. In mice, two genes named IA and IE on chromosome 17 code for the H-2 antigens. The antigens are found on B-lymphocytes, macrophages, epidermal cells, and sperm and are thought to mediate the competence of and cellular cooperation in the immune response. The term IA antigens used to refer only to the proteins encoded by the IA genes in the mouse, but is now used as a generic term for any class II histocompatibility antigen.
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Genetic loci in the vertebrate major histocompatibility complex which encode polymorphic characteristics not related to immune responsiveness or complement activity, e.g., B loci (chicken), DLA (dog), GPLA (guinea pig), H-2 (mouse), RT-1 (rat), HLA-A, -B, and -C class I genes of man.
Class I human histocompatibility (HLA) surface antigens encoded by more than 30 detectable alleles on locus B of the HLA complex, the most polymorphic of all the HLA specificities. Several of these antigens (e.g., HLA-B27, -B7, -B8) are strongly associated with predisposition to rheumatoid and other autoimmune disorders. Like other class I HLA determinants, they are involved in the cellular immune reactivity of cytolytic T lymphocytes.
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