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Genetic variation in major histocompatibility complex class I alpha2 gene among broilers divergently selected for high or low early antibody response to Escherichia coli

Lavi, Y., Cahaner, A., Pleban, T., Pitcovski, J.
Poultry science 2005 v.84 no.8 pp. 1199-1208
selection criteria, selection response, antibody formation, line differences, binding sites
The MHC genes have a profound effect on animal abilities to respond to specific antigens because they play a role in presenting foreign antigens to T cells during the course of the humoral or cellular immune response. In the current study, polymorphism in the MHC class I alpha2 domain was compared in 2 lines divergently selected for high (HH) or low (LL) antibody response to Escherichia coli vaccine. These lines also differ markedly in their antibody response to natural E. coli exposure and to vaccination with Newcastle disease virus, infectious bronchitis virus, and infectious bursa disease virus. Recent trials have shown that the LL chicks exhibit a significantly higher percentage of CD8(+) T lymphocytes in their peripheral blood lymphocytes and spleen than HH chicks. Despite symmetrical selection intensity in both lines, polymorphism of the alpha2-domain gene was higher in the LL line than in the HH line. Among 29 single-nucleotide polymorphism positions found, 3 were unique to the HH line, 15 were unique to the LL line, and 11 were polymorphic in both lines. These single nucleotide polymorphism positions were not 100% line specific and were in agreement with the genetic variation in antibody level or cellular response still found within the selection lines. Five amino acid positions showed significant differences in polymorphism between the selection lines. These were located within the antigen-binding cleft, suggesting that these positions might influence the ability of MHC class I to bind foreign antigens and leading to differences in immunocompetence between the lines.