Polymorphisms in MHC-DRA and -DRB alleles of water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) reveal different features from cattle DR alleles. Academic Article uri icon


  • Seventy-five individuals of Bubalus bubalis belonging to four different breeds, three of river buffalo and one of swamp buffalo, were studied for polymorphism in MHC DRB (Bubu-DRB) and DRA (Bubu-DRA) loci. Eight alleles of Bubu-DRB were found, and all alleles in the swamp type were shared with the three river breeds. All alleles sampled from the breed of European origin (Mediterranean) were present in breeds sampled in Brazil, thus variability of this locus may have been preserved to a great extent in the more recently founded Brazilian population. Bubu-DRB alleles contained higher proportions of synonymous vs. non-synonymous substitutions in the non-peptide-binding sites (PBS) region, in contrast to the pattern of variation found in BoLA-DRB3, the orthologous locus in cattle. This indicated that either the first domain exon (exon 2) of Bubu-DRB has not undergone as much recombination and/or gene conversion as in cattle alleles, or Bubu-DRB may be more ancient than BoLA-DRB3 alleles. Phylogenetic analysis of DRB alleles from Bubalus, Syncerus c. caffer, the Cape buffalo, and domestic cattle demonstrated transspecies polymorphism. Water buffalo contained two alleles of DRA that differed from each other in two amino acid positions, including one in the PBS (alpha22) that was also shared with Anoa depressicornis, the anoa. Discovery of variation in DRA was surprising as the first domain of DRA is a highly conserved polypeptide in mammals in general and especially in ruminants, where no other substitution in PBS was seen.

published proceedings

  • Anim Genet

author list (cited authors)

  • Sena, L., Schneider, M., Brenig, B., Honeycutt, R. L., Womack, J. E., & Skow, L. C.

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • Sena, L||Schneider, MPC||Brenig, B||Honeycutt, RL||Womack, JE||Skow, LC

publication date

  • February 2003