Characterisation of major histocompatibility complex class I transcripts in an Australian dragon lizard
Gardner, Michael George
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Characterisation of squamate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes has lagged behind other taxonomic groups. MHC genes encode cell-surface glycoproteins that present self- and pathogen-derived peptides to T cells and play a critical role in pathogen recognition. Here we characterise MHC class I transcripts for an agamid lizard (Ctenophorus decresii) and investigate the evolution of MHC class I in Iguanian lizards. An iterative assembly strategy was used to identify six full-length C. decresii MHC class I transcripts, which were validated as likely to encode classical class I MHC molecules. Evidence for exon shuffling recombination was uncovered for C. decresii transcripts and Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of Iguanian MHC class I sequences revealed a pattern expected under a birth-and-death mode of evolution. This work provides a stepping stone towards further research on the agamid MHC class I region.