A cDNA library was constructed from a homozygous B lymphoblastoid cell line (REM) obtained from an individual of a long isolated American Indian tribe, the Warao. The REM cell line expresses serologically defined determinants, DR2 and DQw3, and the T lymphocyte-defined (Dw/LD) specificity, LD-5a. T cells can recognize differences between FJO (a DR2/DQw1 cell line that expresses the Dw specificity MN2) and REM for both DR and DQ molecules. cNDA clones encoding the polymorphic DR beta 1-, DR beta 2-, DQ beta-, and DQ alpha-chains were sequenced and compared with other DR and DQ gene sequences. The DR beta 1-sequence of REM is identical to the DR beta 1-sequence of FJO; the DR beta 2-sequence is also identical to that of FJO except for one amino acid difference at position 67 in the polymorphic first domain (Leu in REM, Phe in FJO) due to a single point mutation. The DQ beta-sequence is identical to that of DR4/DQw3 haplotype; the DQ alpha is different from the DQ alpha of DR4/DQw3 haplotype and identical to the DQ alpha of both the DR3/DQw2 haplotype of a Raji cell line and the DR5/DQw3 haplotype in deduced amino acid sequence. Taken together, these findings suggest that: 1) a single amino acid difference (position 67) in the third hypervariable region of the first domain of the DR beta 2-chain in the DR2 haplotype is apparently sufficient for stimulating T cell responses; 2) the DQw3 serologic specificity may be defined mainly by the DQ beta-rather than DQ alpha-chain; and 3) multiple genetic events have probably occurred to generate the rarely found REM (DR2/LD-5a/DQw3) haplotype.

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