The Aotus monkey has been of great value in the pre-clinical study of malaria vaccine candidates. Several components of this primate's immune system have been studied and they display great similarity to their human counterparts. Cloning and sequencing studies have revealed extensive sequence polymorphisms in Aotus MHC-DRB with very high similarities to several human allelic lineages, grouping at least nine distinct MHC-DRB lineages. As the efficacy of peptide vaccines in this animal model may be strongly influenced by exon 2 MHC-DRB polymorphism, the availability of a reliable and rapid MHC-DRB typing method for three species of Aotus (Aotus nancymaae, Aotus vociferans and Aotus nigriceps) is necessary. Reference strand conformational analysis (RSCA) was used here for differentiating the distinctive Aotus MHC-DRB sequences' mobility using five fluorescently labelled references proved to be very useful for resolving closely related sequences, establishing the number of sequences transcribed in a particular monkey and their identity. The RSCA method's reliability in terms of identifying Aotus MHC-DRB sequences will facilitate evaluating individual responsiveness to vaccines and prompt studies associating susceptibility/ resistance to infectious agents or auto-immune disease, for which Aotus monkeys may be considered to be an appropriate animal model.
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