We identified B-G-like genes in the whooping and Florida sandhill cranes and linked them to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). We evaluated the inheritance of B-G-like genes in families of whooping and Florida sandhill cranes using restriction fragment patterns (RFPs). Two B-G-like genes, designated wcbgl and wcbg2, were located within 8 kb of one another. The fully sequenced wcbg2 gene encodes a B-G IgV-like domain, an additional Ig-like domain, a transmembrane domain, and a single heptad domain typical of '-helical coiled coils. Patterns of restriction fragments in DNA from the whooping crane and from a number of other species indicate that the B-G-like gene families of cranes are large with diverse sequences. Segregation of RFPs in families of Florida sandhill cranes provide evidence for genetic polymorphism in the B-G-like genes. The restriction fragments generally segregated in concert with MHC haplotypes assigned by serological typing and by single stranded conformational polymorphism (SSCP) assays based in the second exon of the crane MHC class I genes. This study supports the concept of a long-term association of polymorphic B-G-like genes with the MHC. It also establishes SSCP as a means for evaluating MHC genetic variability in cranes.
Additional publication details
Identification, inheritance, and linkage of B-G-like and MHC class I genes in cranes