Human H-Y: a male-specific histocompatibility antigen derived from the SMCY protein

Science  15 Sep 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5230, pp. 1588-1590
DOI: 10.1126/science.7667640


H-Y is a transplantation antigen that can lead to rejection of male organ and bone marrow grafts by female recipients, even if the donor and recipient match at the major histocompatibility locus of humans, the HLA (human leukocyte antigen) locus. However, the origin and function of H-Y antigens has eluded researchers for 40 years. One human H-Y antigen presented by HLA-B7 was identified as an 11-residue peptide derived from SMCY, an evolutionarily conserved protein encoded on the Y chromosome. The protein from the homologous gene on the X chromosome, SMCX, differs by two amino acid residues in the same region. The identification of H-Y may aid in transplantation prognosis, prenatal diagnosis, and fertilization strategies.

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