Abstract

The regulation of expression of the family of MHC (major histocompatibility complex) class I genes is complex. Sequence analysis has revealed that class I genes from the H-2D subregion of the MHC (which includes the D and L genes) differ from the class I gene from the H-2K subregion (the K gene) by the insertion of a type 2 Alu-like repetitive element (the murine B2 sequence) within the 3' noncoding region of the D and L genes. The consequence of this insertion in the D and L genes is the introduction of a novel polyadenylation signal, which is preferentially used over the more distal signal, the analog of that found in the K gene. The insertion of the type 2 Alu-like sequence results in a change in the preferred site for endonucleolytic cleavage which is necessary for generating a correct 3' terminus for polyadenylation. The data demonstrate that the type 2 Alu-like sequence has a function; the data also suggest a possible regulatory role of this sequence in the expression of class I genes.

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