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Developmental Immunology
Volume 1 (1991), Issue 4, Pages 243-254

Comparison of Mouse Ly5a and Ly5b Leucocyte Common Antigen Alleles

La Jolla Biological Laboratories, The Salk Institute, P.O. Box 85350, San Diego, California 92186, USA

Received 10 October 1990; Accepted 16 January 1991

Copyright © 1991 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The family of leucocyte common antigen (LCA) transmembrane glycoproteins is expressed in most hematopoietic cells. Molecular isoforms of the LCA molecule are generated by alternative splicing of a single gene encoded on the murine chromosome 1. Three LCA alleles with different antigenic reactivities have been identified in inbred mouse strains. To investigate the divergence between alleles, cDNA clones to the SJA (Ly5a) LCA gene have been isolated and sequenced. A comparison of this information to the Ly5b allele sequence identifies 12 allele-specific nucleotide changes. These base substitutions correspond to five amino-acid changes within the extracellular domain of the LCA molecule. These amino-acid differences are clustered in a region that also contains the greatest divergence between mouse and rat LCA sequences. Thus, these two mouse LCA alleles exhibit a pattern of sequence conservation that mimics that found over a much broader scale of evolution. Analysis of antigenicity profiles for each of the allelic sequence changes reveals three molecular domains of altered antigenicity that could account for observed serological differences between the two alleles. Sequence information from the 5' end of the Ly5a LCA gene, generated using polymerase chain-reaction techniques on genomic DNA, reveals eight additional nucleotide differences between the Ly5a and Ly5b alleles.