The distribution of Ia antigens in rat kidneys has been investigated by an immunoperoxidase technique, using monoclonal antibodies directed at framework determinants on molecules equivalent to gene products of the I-A and I-E/C regions of the mouse major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Antigens mapping to both loci were detected in proximal convoluted tubule epithelium and on scattered dendritic cells in the interstitial connective tissues, glomeruli, and mucosa of the renal pelvis. All other structures were negative. Genetic studies indicate that the levels of expression of Ia molecules from both genetic loci are controlled by non-MHC genes in epithelium, but not on lymphocytes. The subcellular distribution of Ia molecules has been investigated in tubular epithelium and is discussed in relation to their possible functions in epithelia.

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