, Volume 57, Issue 11, pp 845-854
Date: 06 Dec 2005

Characterization of Bison bison major histocompatibility complex class IIa haplotypes

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American bison (Bison bison) and domestic cattle (Bos taurus and Bos indicus) evolved from a common ancestor 1–1.4 million years ago. Nevertheless, they show dramatic differences in their susceptibility to infectious diseases, including malignant catarrhal fever (MCF). Although bison are highly susceptible to ovine herpesvirus-2 (OvHV-2) associated MCF, about 20% of healthy domesticated and wild bison are positive for OvHV-2 antibody. We are interested in testing the hypothesis that, within the bison population, the polymorphism of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II genes influences resistance to MCF. However, since little was known about the MHC class II genes of bison, it was necessary to first characterize class II haplotypes present in Bi. bison (Bibi). Thus, the MHC class II haplotypes carried by 14 bison were characterized by the PCR-based cloning and sequencing of their DRB3, DQA, and DQB alleles. Twelve MHC class II haplotypes were identified in the 14 bison. These haplotypes comprised six previously reported and six new Bibi-DRB3 alleles, along with 11 Bibi-DQA and 10 Bibi-DQB alleles. For each bison class II allele, it was possible to identify closely related cattle sequences. The closest bison and bovine DQA, DQB, and DRB3 alleles, on average, differed by only 1.3, 3.5, and 5.8 amino acids, respectively. Furthermore, bison MHC haplotypes with both nonduplicated and duplicated DQ genes were identified; these haplotypes appear to have originated from the same ancestral haplotypes as orthologous cattle haplotypes.

This study was supported by USDA-Agricultural Research Service grant CWU-5348-32000-018-00D. While working on this project, Dr. Bharat Bhushan was supported by a fellowship from the World-Bank-sponsored National Agricultural Technology Project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Indian Ministry of Agriculture, New Delhi, India