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MHC class II DR allelic diversity in bighorn sheep

Subramaniam, Renuka, White, Stephen N., Herrmann-Hoesing, Lynn M., Srikumaran, Subramaniam
Gene 2012 v.506 no.1 pp. 217
Mannheimia haemolytica, Ovis canadensis, T-lymphocytes, alleles, antibodies, antigen presentation, bacterial toxins, captive animals, complementary DNA, deserts, dimerization, exons, genetic variation, glutamine, herds, leukotoxins, lymphocyte proliferation, major histocompatibility complex, peptides, sheep
We hypothesized that decreased diversity and/or unique polymorphisms in MHC class II alleles of bighorn sheep (BHS, Ovis canadensis) are responsible for lower titer of antibodies against Mannheimia haemolytica leukotoxin, in comparison to domestic sheep (DS, Ovis aries). To test this hypothesis, DRA and DRB transcripts from 24 captive BHS (Ovca-DRA and Ovca-DRB) were sequenced. Based on exon 2 (β1 domain) sequences, eight different Ovca-DRB cDNA sequences were identified in BHS. Six of them were 100% identical to previously reported Ovca-DRB genomic DNA sequences. The new alleles DRB*23 and DRB*24, were closely related to two other Ovca-DRB exon 2 genomic DNA sequences. Nineteen out of 24 BHS (79%) Ovca-DRB exon 3 (β2 domain) sequences were 100% identical to exon 3 sequence of DRB1 of DS (Ovar-DRB1). Ovca-DRA full length cDNA sequences exhibited > 99% identity. Based upon exon 2 sequences, this BHS herd yielded higher Ovca-DRB allelic diversity than that reported in the previous study. Positively selected amino acid positions were identified in the peptide-binding groove of BHS and DS, but BHS showed more such sites. This highlights differing population histories, and may suggest differing needs for DR peptide-binding specificities. Presence of glutamine at position 52 (52Q) in some of the desert and captive BHS is predicted to alter the efficiency of DR dimerization, which may influence antigen presentation and Th cell activation. Functional assays with unique alleles should reveal whether the presentation of M. haemolytica leukotoxin peptides to Th cells by Ovca-DRB alleles is equivalent to that of Ovar-DRB1 alleles.