Associations between the presence of specific antibodies to the West Nile Virus infection and candidate genes in Romanian horses from the Danube delta
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The West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus causing meningoencephalitis in humans and animals. Due to their particular susceptibility to WNV infection, horses serve as a sentinel species. In a population of Romanian semi-feral horses living in the Danube delta region, we have analyzed the distribution of candidate polymorphic genetic markers between anti WNV-IgG seropositive and seronegative horses. Thirty-six SNPs located in 28 immunity-related genes and 26 microsatellites located in the MHC and LY49 complex genomic regions were genotyped in 57 seropositive and 32 seronegative horses. The most significant association (pcorr < 0.0002) was found for genotypes composed of markers of the SLC11A1 and TLR4 genes. Markers of five other candidate genes (ADAM17, CXCR3, IL12A, MAVS, TNFA), along with 5 MHC class I and LY49-linked microsatellites were also associated with the WNV antibody status in this model horse population. The OAS1 gene, previously associated with WNV-induced clinical disease, was not associated with the presence of anti-WNV antibodies.
KeywordsWest Nile virus Horse Restriction fragment length polymorphism Microsatellite SLC11A1 TLR4 MHC NKR Polymorphism
This research was supported by the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) CZ.1.05/1.1.00/02, and by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, project CEITEC 2020 [the Czech National Sustainability Programme NPU LQ1601, Grant No. LQ1601]. The work of ADM and GA was supported by the Grant UEFISCDI PCCDI 57/2018.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All blood samples were collected primarily for veterinary surveillance purposes, as part of the Romanian national strategic plan for diseases surveillance. All samplings were conducted by licensed veterinarians in compliance with all legal, ethical and professional standards and following the verbal consent of all owners.
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