In silico peptide-binding predictions of passerine MHC class I reveal similarities across distantly related species, suggesting convergence on the level of protein function
Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) have received much attention in immunology, genetics, and ecology because they are highly polymorphic and play important roles in parasite resistance and mate choice. Until recently, the MHC of passerine birds was not well-described. However, the genome sequencing of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) has partially redressed this gap in our knowledge of avian MHC genes. Here, we contribute further to the understanding of the zebra finch MHC organization by mapping SNPs within or close to known MHC genes in the zebra finch genome. MHC class I and IIB genes were both mapped to zebra finch chromosome 16, and there was no evidence that MHC class I genes are located on chromosome 22 (as suggested by the genome assembly). We confirm the location in the MHC region on chromosome 16 for several other genes (BRD2, FLOT1, TRIM7.2, GNB2L1, and CSNK2B). Two of these (CSNK2B and FLOT1) have not previously been mapped in any other bird species. In line with previous results, we also find that orthologs to the immune-related genes B-NK and CLEC2D, which are part of the MHC region in chicken, are situated on zebra finch chromosome Z and not among other MHC genes in the zebra finch.