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Genetic epidemiology of the Alpine ibex reservoir of persistent and virulent brucellosis outbreak

Abstract : While it is now broadly accepted that inter-individual variation in the outcomes of host–pathogen interactions is at least partially genetically controlled, host immunogenetic characteristics are rarely investigated in wildlife epidemiological studies. Furthermore, most immunogenetic studies in the wild focused solely on the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) diversity despite it accounts for only a fraction of the genetic variation in pathogen resistance. Here, we investigated immunogenetic diversity of the Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) population of the Bargy massif, reservoir of a virulent outbreak of brucellosis. We analysed the polymorphism and associations with disease resistance of the MHC Class II Drb gene and several non-MHC genes (Toll-like receptor genes, Slc11A1) involved in the innate immune response to Brucella in domestic ungulates. We found a very low neutral genetic diversity and a unique MHC Drb haplotype in this population founded few decades ago from a small number of individuals. By contrast, other immunity-related genes have maintained polymorphism and some showed significant associations with the brucellosis infection status hence suggesting a predominant role of pathogen-mediated selection in their recent evolutionary trajectory. Our results highlight the need to monitor immunogenetic variation in wildlife epidemiological studies and to look beyond the MHC.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 9:17:16 PM
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Erwan Quéméré, Sophie Rossi, Elodie Petit, Pascal Marchand, Joel Merlet, et al.. Genetic epidemiology of the Alpine ibex reservoir of persistent and virulent brucellosis outbreak. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 10 (1), pp.1-10. ⟨10.1038/s41598-020-61299-2⟩. ⟨hal-02627770⟩

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