Journal article

Characterisation of major histocompatibility complex class I genes at the fetal-maternal interface of marsupials

Ina Buentjen, Barbara Drews, Stephen R Frankenberg, Thomas B Hildebrandt, Marilyn B Renfree, Brandon R Menzies



Major histocompatibility complex class I molecules (MHC-I) are expressed at the cell surface and are responsible for the presentation of self and non-self antigen repertoires to the immune system. Eutherian mammals express both classical and non-classical MHC-I molecules in the placenta, the latter of which are thought to modulate the maternal immune response during pregnancy. Marsupials last shared a common ancestor with eutherian mammals such as humans and mice over 160 million years ago. Since, like eutherians, they have an intra-uterine development dependent on a placenta, albeit a short-lived and less invasive one, they provide an opportunity to investigate the evolution of MHC-I expres..

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Funding Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Mrs. Jette Ziep and Ms Tanja Noventa for assistance in the laboratory and to Prof. Joerns Fickel for technical assistance with DNA sequencing. This project was funded by a PAKT grant from the Leibniz Gemeinschaft to BD, a Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship to BRM, an Australian Research Council Discovery Outstanding Research Award to MBR. Thank you to the Dahlem Research School for supporting this research with a travel grant to Mrs. Ina Buentjen.