Of all the biochemically defined mouse MHC class I molecules, the Qa-1 antigens are the only ones for which a gene has not been identified. Recent evidence has suggested that Qa-1 antigens are functional class I molecules and can function as restriction elements for gamma/delta T cells. We have examined the relationship between Qa-1 and the product of gene 37, a presumed novel class I antigen encoded within the TL region. Immunoprecipitation and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of the molecules reactive with anti-Qa-1 and anti-37 sera show that the Qa-1 molecule of Qa-1b (Qa-1.2) mouse strains is identical to the product of gene 37 on the basis of molecular weight, pI, and strain distribution. Immunodepletion, biosynthetic labeling, and tunicamycin treatment confirm that the protein encoded by gene 37 in Qa-1b mice is Qa-1.2. In contrast, the anti-37 serum was unable to recognize the Qa-1 molecule in Qa-1a strains. Given the fact that the only allele to gene 37 thus far identified in a Qa-1a strain (A/J) has a termination codon in the alpha 3 domain, our data lead us to conclude that the Qa-1 molecule expressed in Qa-1a mice is not a true allelic product of the gene 37 encoded antigen of Qa-1b mouse strains.

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