Lipid antigens are presented to T cells by the CD1 family of proteins. In this study, we characterize the complete dog (Canis familiaris) CD1 locus, which is located on chromosome 38. The canine locus contains eight CD1A genes (canCD1A), of which five are pseudogenes, one canCD1B, one canCD1C, one canCD1D, and one canCD1E gene. In vivo expression of canine CD1 proteins was shown for canCD1a6, canCD1a8, and canCD1b, using a panel of anti-CD1 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). CanCD1a6 and canCD1a8 are recognized by two distinct mAbs. Furthermore, we show differential transcription of the three canCD1A genes in canine tissues. In canine skin, the transcription level of canCD1A8 was higher than that of canCD1A6, and no transcription of canCD1A2 was detected. Based on protein modeling and protein sequence alignment, we predict that both canine CD1a proteins can bind different glycolipids in their groove. Besides differences in ectodomain structure, we observed the unique presence of three types of cytoplasmic tails encoded by canCD1A genes. cDNA sequencing and expressed sequence tag sequences confirmed the existence of a short, human CD1a-like cytoplasmic tail of four amino acids, of an intermediate length form of 15 amino acids, and of a long form of 31 amino acids
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