The ability of guinea pigs to make immune responses to GA, a linear random copolymer of L-glutamic acid and L-alanine, GT, a random linear copolymer of L-glutamic acid and L-tyrosine, and PLL, a linear homopolymer of L-lysine, is controlled by different autosomal dominant genes specific for each of those polymers. We have investigated the relationship between the PLL gene and the GA and GT immune response genes by simultaneously immunizing random-bred Hartley strain guinea pigs with GA and PLL, GT and PLL, or GA and GT.

In most Hartley guinea pigs the ability to respond immunologically to GA and to PLL is inherited together; that is, most animals responding to GA respond to PLL and vice versa. However, a few animals respond to either GA or to PLL but not both, demonstrating that the GA and PLL immune response genes are not identical but linked in most Hartley animals. Conversely, when simultaneously immunized with GT and PLL, most Hartley guinea pigs respond to either PLL or GT but not both, indicating that GT and PLL responsiveness tends to segregate away from each other. Thus, the GT and PLL immune response genes also are not inherited independently but, rather, behave as alleles or pseudoalleles. Similar results are observed when Hartley guinea pigs are simultaneously immunized with GA and GT. The ability to respond to GA segregates away from the ability to respond to GT.

Our studies demonstrated that the specific immune response genes thus far identified in guinea pigs controlling the ability to respond to GA, GT, and PLL, respectively, are found on the same chromosome. In most Hartley animals, the GA and PLL immune response genes are often linked, i.e. occur on the same chromosome strand, and tend to behave as alleles or pseudoalleles to the GT immune response gene.

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