Introduction to Immunology
Problem 12. HLA genetic diversity
Human HLA genes (equivalent to MHC genes in mice) have many alleles, and no two individuals have identical alleles at all gene loci. Which of the following are consequences of this genetic diversity?
||Maximizes the kinds of pathogens that can be recognized and eliminated by an immune response within a population
||Transplanted organs can be rejected
||Females mice prefer to mate with males having different alleles at MHC gene loci
All of the above
The MHC alleles called H2 in mice
and HLA in humans regulate our immune response to antigens.
The cell surface glycoproteins bind to small fractions
of pathogens and carry these fragments to the cell surface
where they can be detected by T cells. Diversity in the
MHC molecules means a wider potential immune response
to pathogens, and thus is a survival advantage. Normally,
our immune system responds to our own MHC molecules with
pathogen fragments, but the presence of foreign MHC molecules
on transplanted tissues can lead to a massive immune response
and tissue rejection. Finally, studies on many species
show that mating preference and odor is somehow related
to MHC alleles. The immune advantage of MHC diversity
is apparently selected for during mating.
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