14 gorilla class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) alleles have been isolated, sequenced, and compared to their counterparts in humans and chimpanzees. Gorilla homologues of HLA-A, -B, and -C were readily identified, and four Gogo-A, four Gogo-B, and five Gogo-C alleles were defined. In addition, an unusual Gogo class I gene with features in common with HLA-A and its related pseudogene, HLA-H, is described. None of the gorilla alleles is identical or even closely related to known class I alleles and each encodes a unique antigen recognition site. However, the majority of polymorphic substitutions and sequence motifs of gorilla class I alleles are shared with the human or chimpanzee systems. In particular, elements shared with HLA-A2 and HLA-B27 are found in Gogo-A and -B alleles. Diversity at the Gogo-B locus is less than at the Gogo-A locus, a trend the opposite of that seen for HLA-A and -B. The Gogo-C locus also appears to have limited polymorphism compared to Gogo-A. Two basic Gogo-C motifs were found and they segregate with distinctive sets of HLA-C alleles. HLA-A allels are divided into five families derived from two ancient lineages. All chimpanzee A alleles derived from one of these lineages and all gorilla alleles derive from the other. Unlike chimpanzee Patr-A alleles, the Gogo-A alleles do not clearly partition with one of the HLA-A families but have similarities with two. Overall, gorilla class I diversity appears from this sampling to show more distinctions from class I HLA than found for chimpanzee class I.

Publication Date



Article may be found at: http://www.jem.org/cgi/reprint/174/6/1491 ISSN:1540-9538 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)


RIT – Main Campus