Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC)
Published Online: 23 SEP 2005
Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.
How to Cite
Penn, D. J. and Ilmonen, P. 2005. Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC). eLS. .
- Published Online: 23 SEP 2005
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) contains the most diverse genes known in vertebrates, the class I and II loci. These highly polymorphic genes encode cell surface receptors that play a central role in controlling immunological self/nonself recognition, and subsequently, tissue rejection, autoimmunity and immune responses to infectious diseases. The polymorphisms of MHC genes have been maintained by natural selection over long periods of evolutionary time.
- genetic diversity;
- host–parasite coevolution;
- sexual selection