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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Smith, Douglas
item Lunney, Joan
item Ho, Chak-sum
item Martens, Greg
item Ando, Asako
item Lee, Jun-heon
item Schook, Lawrence
item Renard, Christine
item Chardon, Patrick

Submitted to: Tissue Antigen
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/5/2005
Publication Date: 11/23/2005
Citation: Smith, D.M., Lunney, J.K., Ho, C., Martens, G.W., Ando, A., Lee, J., Schook, L., Renard, C., Chardon, P. 2005. Nomenclature for factors of the SLA class II system. Tissue Antigen. 66(6):623-639.

Interpretive Summary: Effective vaccine and infectious disease responses require that they be recognized by the immune system. For this to happen vaccine or microbial antigens must be processed and presented to the immune system by host proteins, termed the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens. For swine the MHC is called the Swine Leukocyte Antigen (SLA) complex. This manuscript covers only one-third of the SLA complex, the SLA class II genes, some of which, the SLA-DRB1 and SLA-DQB1, are very polymorphic. Sets of SLA class II genes are termed haplotypes. Swine with different SLA class II haplotypes have been shown to develop different, SLA dependent titers of complement and antibodies to defined antigens and vaccines. Expression of SLA class II genes helps to differentiate antigen presenting cells, the myeloid dendritic cell (DC) from natural interferon-producing cells or plasmacytoid DC. This systematic nomenclature for SLA class II alleles is critical to the further development of research in swine immunology and disease research and for use of the swine as a transplantation model for humans and as xenotranplantation (cross-species) donor for humans. SLA class II matching is required for acceptance of bone marrow cell and solid organ allografts. This manuscript presents the proposed nomenclature that swine researchers developed under the auspices of the International Society for Animal Genetics (ISAG) to systematize the nomenclature for the swine SLA class II antigens. As many as 15 alleles at any one SLA class II have been reported and now have been assigned an appropriate allelic designation. This nomenclature allows investigators to communicate more easily about SLA alleles and haplotypes, particularly in outbred pigs, where there are few molecularly defined SLA haplotypes. Overall, such information will be very useful for designing vaccines that produce effective protective immunity for infectious diseases in every pig.

Technical Abstract: A systematic nomenclature for the genes and alleles of the swine major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is essential to the development and communication of research in swine immunology. The Swine Leukocyte Antigen (SLA) Nomenclature Committee of the International Society for Animal Genetics (ISAG) has reviewed all of the DNA sequence information for MHC class II genes, available in GenBank/EMBL/DDBJ databases, and the associated published reports to develop such a systematic nomenclature. This manuscript summarizes the proposed nomenclature, which parallels the World Health Organization’s nomenclature for factors of the human MHC. The SLA class II genes expressed on the cell membrane will be noted as SLA-DRA, SLA-DRB1, SLA-DQA and SLA-DQB1. Nomenclature assignments for all SLA class II GenBank sequences are now noted. The committee will add new SLA class II allele designations, as they are discovered, and will maintain a publicly available list of all recognized genes and alleles using the international ImMunoGeneTics project (IMGT) and its Immuno Polymorphism Database/MHC (IPD/MHC) sequence database for animal MHC sequences (

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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