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Bi-functional chicken immunoglobulin-like receptors with a single extracellular domain (ChIR-AB1): potential framework genes among a relatively stable number of genes per haplotype

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    Rights statement: Copyright © 2019Meziane, Potts, Viertlboeck, Løvlie, Krupa, Burke, Brown,Watson, Richardson, Pizzari, Göbel and Kaufman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use,distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number2222
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2019


The leukocyte receptor complex (LRC) in humans encodes many receptors with immunoglobulin-like (Ig-like) extracellular domains, including the killer Ig-like receptors (KIRs) expressed on natural killer (NK) cells among others, the leukocyte Ig-like receptors (LILRs) expressed on myeloid and B cells, and an Fc receptor (FcR), all of which have important roles in the immune response. These highly-related genes encode activating receptors with positively-charged residues in the transmembrane region, inhibitory receptors with immuno-tyrosine based motifs (ITIMs) in the cytoplasmic tail, and bi-functional receptors with both. The related chicken Ig-like receptors (ChIRs) are almost all found together on a microchromosome, with over 100 activating (A), inhibitory (B), and bi-functional (AB) genes, bearing either one or two extracellular Ig-like domains, interspersed over 500-1,000 kB in the genome of an individual chicken. Sequencing studies have suggested rapid divergence and little overlap between ChIR haplotypes, so we wished to begin to understand their genetics. We chose to use a hybridization technique, reference strand-mediated conformational analysis (RSCA), to examine the ChIR-AB1 family, with a moderate number of genes dispersed across the microchromosome. Using fluorescently-labeled references (FLR), we found that RSCA and sequencing of ChIR-AB1 extracellular exon gave two groups of peaks with mobility correlated with sequence relationship to the FLR. We used this system to examine widely-used and well-characterized experimental chicken lines, finding only one or a few simple ChIR haplotypes for each line, with similar numbers of peaks overall. We found much more complicated patterns from a broiler line from a commercial breeder and a flock of red junglefowl, but trios of parents and offspring from another commercial chicken line show that the complicated patterns are due to heterozygosity, indicating a relatively stable number of peaks within haplotypes of these birds. Some ChIR-AB1 peaks were found in all individuals from the commercial lines, and some of these were shared with red junglefowl and the experimental lines derived originally from egg-laying chickens. Overall, this analysis suggests that there are some simple features underlying the apparent complexity of the ChIR locus.

    Research areas

  • leukocyte receptor complex, LRC, Fc receptor, FcR, LILR, avian, reference strand-mediated

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