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2.  Self/nonself perception, reproduction and the extended MHC 
Self Nonself  2010;1(3):176-191.
Self/nonself perception governs mate selection in most eukaryotic species. It relies on a number of natural barriers that act before, during and after copulation. These hurdles prevent a costly investment into an embryo with potentially suboptimal genetic and immunological properties and aim at discouraging fertilization when male and female gametes exhibit extensive sharing of alleles. Due to the fact that several genes belonging to the extended major histocompatibility complex (xMHC) carry out crucial immune functions and are the most polymorphic within vertebrate genomes, it is likely that securing heterozygosity and the selection of rare alleles within this gene complex contributes to endowing the offspring with an advantage in fighting infections. Apart from MHC class I and II antigens, the products of several other genes within the xMHC are candidates for participating in mate choice, especially since the respective loci are subject to long-range linkage disequilibrium which may aid to preserve functionally connected alleles within a given haplotype. Among these loci are polymorphic odorant receptor genes that are expressed not only in the olfactory epithelium, but also within male reproductive tissues. They may thus not only be of importance in olfaction-influenced mate choice, by recognizing MHC-dependent individual-specific olfactory signals, but could also guide spermatozoa along chemical gradients to their target, the oocyte. By focusing on the human HLA complex and genes within its vicinity, we show here that the products of several xMHC-specified molecules might be involved in self/nonself perception during reproduction. Although the molecular details are often unknown, the existence of highly diverse, yet intertwined pre- and post-copulatory barriers suggests that xMHC-encoded proteins may be important for various stages of mate choice, germ cell development, as well as embryonic and foetal life in mammals and other vertebrates. Many of these genes should thus be regarded as crucial not only within the immune system, but also in reproduction.
PMCID: PMC3047782  PMID: 21487476
cryptic female choice; extended major histocompatibility complex; gene polymorphism; human leukocyte antigen complex; mate choice; odorant receptor; reproduction; self/nonself discrimination
3.  Assessment of transmission distortion on chromosome 6p in healthy individuals using tagSNPs 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2009;17(9):1182-1189.
The best-documented example for transmission distortion (TD) to normal offspring are the t haplotypes on mouse chromosome 17. In healthy humans, TD has been described for whole chromosomes and for particular loci, but multiple comparisons have presented a statistical obstacle in wide-ranging analyses. Here we provide six high-resolution TD maps of the short arm of human chromosome 6 (Hsa6p), based on single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data from 60 trio families belonging to two ethnicities that are available through the International HapMap Project. We tested all approximately 70 000 previously genotyped SNPs within Hsa6p by the transmission disequilibrium test. TagSNP selection followed by permutation testing was performed to adjust for multiple testing. A statistically significant evidence for TD was observed among male parents of European ancestry, due to strong and wide-ranging skewed segregation in a 730 kb long region containing the transcription factor-encoding genes SUPT3H and RUNX2, as well as the microRNA locus MIRN586. We also observed that this chromosomal segment coincides with pronounced linkage disequilibrium (LD), suggesting a relationship between TD and LD. The fact that TD may be taking place in samples not selected for a genetic disease implies that linkage studies must be assessed with particular caution in chromosomal segments with evidence of TD.
PMCID: PMC2986600  PMID: 19259136
transmission distortion; linkage disequilibrium; human chromosome 6p; SUPT3H; MIRN586; RUNX2
4.  Association of Smoking Behavior with an Odorant Receptor Allele Telomeric to the Human Major Histocompatibility Complex 
Genetic testing  2008;12(4):481-486.
Smoking behavior has been associated in two independent European cohorts with the most common Caucasian human leukocyte antigen (HLA) haplotype (A1-B8-DR3). We aimed to test whether polymorphic members of the two odorant receptor (OR) clusters within the extended HLA complex might be responsible for the observed association, by genotyping a cohort of Hungarian women in which the mentioned association had been found. One hundred and eighty HLA haplotypes from Centre d’Etude du Polymorphisme Humain families were analyzed in silico to identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within OR genes that are in linkage disequilibrium with the A1-B8-DR3 haplotype, as well as with two other haplotypes indirectly linked to smoking behavior. A nonsynonymous SNP within the OR12D3 gene (rs3749971T) was found to be linked to the A1-B8-DR3 haplotype. This polymorphism leads to a 97Thr → Ile exchange that affects a putative ligand binding region of the OR12D3 protein. Smoking was found to be associated in the Hungarian cohort with the rs3749971T allele (p = 1.05×10−2), with higher significance than with A1-B8-DR3 (p = 2.38×10−2). Our results link smoking to a distinct OR allele, and demonstrate that the rs3749971T polymorphism is associated with the HLA haplotype-dependent differential recognition of cigarette smoke components, at least among Caucasian women.
PMCID: PMC2635552  PMID: 18939942

Results 1-4 (4)