Background/Aims: Cluster of differentiation 1 (CD1) is a family of nonpolymorphic, major histocompatibility complex class I-like molecules with prominent expression in the liver and intestinal epithelium of humans and mice. Models of intestinal and hepatobiliary inflammation and experimental liver transplantation are conducted in the rat, yet nothing is known of CD1 expression in this species. Methods: Monoclonal antibodies against murine CD1 were used to identify a rat CD1 homologue. Tissue messenger RNA expression was confirmed by Northern blot analysis with a murine CD1 complementary DNA probe. Results: Immunoperoxidase staining detected CD1 in intestinal epithelial and liver cells but not in the thymus. Immunofluorescence of isolated hepatocytes and a rat fetal intestinal cell line, SLC-44, showed cell surface expression of CD1. Metabolic labeling and immunoprecipitation of the SLC-44 cell line and a mouse intestinal epithelial cell line, MODE-K, showed a protein of 55 kilodaltons. Immunoblotting of CD1 in isolated intestinal epithelial cells and hepatocytes showed a molecule of 55 kilodaltons. Northern blot analysis showed a single message of approximately 2.2 kilobases in hepatocytes. Conclusions: A CD1 homologue exists in the rat. Expression in the rat intestine and liver are similar to those in the human and mouse. The rat may be useful as a model for the study of CD1 function.
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