Lack of evidence for selection favouring MHC haplotypes that combine high functional diversity.
ABSTRACT: High rates of gene duplication and the highest levels of functional allelic diversity in vertebrate genomes are the main hallmarks of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a multigene family with a primordial role in pathogen recognition. The usual tight linkage among MHC gene duplicates may provide an opportunity for the evolution of haplotypes that associate functionally divergent alleles and thus grant the transmission of optimal levels of diversity to coming generations. Even though such associations may be a crucial component of disease resistance, this hypothesis has been given little attention in wild populations. Here, we leveraged pedigree data from a barn owl (Tyto alba) population to characterize MHC haplotype structure across two MHC class I (MHC-I) and two MHC class IIB (MHC-IIB) duplicates, in order to test the hypothesis that haplotypes' genetic diversity is higher than expected from randomly associated alleles. After showing that MHC loci are tightly linked within classes, we found limited evidence for shifts towards MHC haplotypes combining high diversity. Neither amino acid nor functional within-haplotype diversity were significantly higher than in random sets of haplotypes, regardless of MHC class. Our results therefore provide no evidence for selection towards high-diversity MHC haplotypes in barn owls. Rather, high rates of concerted evolution may constrain the evolution of high-diversity haplotypes at MHC-I, while, in contrast, for MHC-IIB, fixed differences among loci may provide barn owls with already optimized functional diversity. This suggests that at the MHC-I and MHC-IIB respectively, different evolutionary dynamics may govern the evolution of within-haplotype diversity.
Project description:Studies of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) diversity in non-model vertebrates typically focus on structure and sequence variation in the antigen-presenting loci: the highly variable and polymorphic class I and class IIB genes. Although these studies provide estimates of the number of genes and alleles/locus, they often overlook variation in functionally related and co-inherited genes important in the immune response. This study utilizes the sequence of the MHC B-locus derived from a commercial turkey to investigate MHC variation in wild birds. Sequences were obtained for nine interspersed MHC amplicons (non-class I/II) from each of 40 birds representing 3 subspecies of wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). Analysis of aligned sequences identified 238 single-nucleotide variants approximately one-third of which had minor allele frequencies >0.2 in the sampled birds. PHASE analysis identified 70 prospective MHC haplotypes in the wild turkeys, whereas a combined analysis with commercial birds identified almost 100 haplotypes in the species. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the class IIB loci was used to test the efficacy of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) haplotyping to capture locus-wide variation. Diversity in SNP haplotypes and haplotype sharing among individuals was directly reflected in the DGGE patterns. Utilization of a reference haplotype to sequence interspersed regions of the MHC has significant advantages over other methods of surveying diversity while identifying high-frequency SNPs for genotyping. SNP haplotyping provides a means to identify both divergent haplotypes and homozygous individuals for assessment of immunological variation in wild and domestic populations.
Project description:The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a highly polymorphic genomic region that plays a central role in the immune system. Despite its functional consistency, the genomic structure of the MHC differs substantially among organisms. In birds, the MHC-B structures of Galliformes, including chickens, have been well characterized, but information about other avian MHCs remains sparse. The Japanese Crested Ibis (Nipponia nippon, Pelecaniformes) is an internationally conserved, critically threatened species. The current Japanese population of N. nippon originates from only five founders; thus, understanding the genetic diversity among these founders is critical for effective population management. Because of its high polymorphism and importance for disease resistance and other functions, the MHC has been an important focus in the conservation of endangered species. Here, we report the structure and polymorphism of the Japanese Crested Ibis MHC class II region. Screening of genomic libraries allowed the construction of three contigs representing different haplotypes of MHC class II regions. Characterization of genomic clones revealed that the MHC class II genomic structure of N. nippon was largely different from that of chicken. A pair of MHC-IIA and -IIB genes was arranged head-to-head between the COL11A2 and BRD2 genes. Gene order in N. nippon was more similar to that in humans than to that in chicken. The three haplotypes contained one to three copies of MHC-IIA/IIB gene pairs. Genotyping of the MHC class II region detected only three haplotypes among the five founders, suggesting that the genetic diversity of the current Japanese Crested Ibis population is extremely low. The structure of the MHC class II region presented here provides valuable insight for future studies on the evolution of the avian MHC and for conservation of the Japanese Crested Ibis.
Project description:Host-pathogen interactions are a major evolutionary force promoting local adaptation. Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) represent unique candidates to investigate evolutionary processes driving local adaptation to parasite communities. The present study aimed at identifying the relative roles of neutral and adaptive processes driving the evolution of MHC class IIB (MHCIIB) genes in natural populations of European minnows (Phoxinus phoxinus). To this end, we isolated and genotyped exon 2 of two MHCIIB gene duplicates (DAB1 and DAB3) and 1'665 amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers in nine populations, and characterized local bacterial communities by 16S rDNA barcoding using 454 amplicon sequencing. Both MHCIIB loci exhibited signs of historical balancing selection. Whereas genetic differentiation exceeded that of neutral markers at both loci, the populations' genetic diversities were positively correlated with local pathogen diversities only at DAB3. Overall, our results suggest pathogen-mediated local adaptation in European minnows at both MHCIIB loci. While at DAB1 selection appears to favor different alleles among populations, this is only partially the case in DAB3, which appears to be locally adapted to pathogen communities in terms of genetic diversity. These results provide new insights into the importance of host-pathogen interactions in driving local adaptation in the European minnow, and highlight that the importance of adaptive processes driving MHCIIB gene evolution may differ among duplicates within species, presumably as a consequence of alternative selective regimes or different genomic context. Using next-generation sequencing, the present manuscript identifies the relative roles of neutral and adaptive processes driving the evolution of MHC class IIB (MHCIIB) genes in natural populations of a cyprinid fish: the European minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus). We highlight that the relative importance of neutral versus adaptive processes in shaping immune competence may differ between duplicates as a consequence of alternative selective regimes or different genomic contexts.
Project description:In cattle, there are six classical MHC class I genes that are variably present between different haplotypes. Almost all known haplotypes contain between one and three genes, with an allele of Gene 2 present on the vast majority. However, very little is known about the sequence and therefore structure and evolutionary history of this genomic region. To address this, we have refined the MHC class I region in the Hereford cattle genome assembly and sequenced a complete A14 haplotype from a homozygous Holstein. Comparison of the two haplotypes revealed extensive variation within the MHC class Ia region, but not within the flanking regions, with each gene contained within a conserved 63- to 68-kb sequence block. This variable region appears to have undergone block gene duplication and likely deletion at regular breakpoints, suggestive of a site-specific mechanism. Phylogenetic analysis using complete gene sequences provided evidence of allelic diversification via gene conversion, with breakpoints between each of the extracellular domains that were associated with high guanine-cytosine (GC) content. Advancing our knowledge of cattle MHC class I evolution will help inform investigations of cattle genetic diversity and disease resistance.
Project description:The ovine MHC class IIa is known to consist of six to eight loci located in close proximity on chromosome 20, forming haplotypes that are typically inherited without recombination. Here, we characterise the class IIa haplotypes within the Soay sheep (Ovis aries) on St. Kilda to assess the diversity present within this unmanaged island population. We used a stepwise sequence-based genotyping strategy to identify alleles at seven polymorphic MHC class IIa loci in a sample of 118 Soay sheep from four cohorts spanning 15 years of the long-term study on St. Kilda. DRB1, the most polymorphic MHC class II locus, was characterised first in all 118 sheep and identified six alleles. Using DRB1 homozygous animals, the DQA (DQA1, DQA2 and DQA2-like) and DQB (DQB1, DQB2 and DQB2-like) loci were sequenced, revealing eight haplotypes. Both DQ1/DQ2 and DQ2/DQ2-like haplotype configurations were identified and a single haplotype carrying three DQB alleles. A test sample of 94 further individuals typed at the DRB1 and DQA loci found no exceptions to the eight identified haplotypes and a haplotype homozygosity of 21.3%. We found evidence of historic positive selection at DRB1, DQA and DQB. The limited variation at MHC class IIa loci in Soay sheep enabled haplotype characterisation but showed that no single locus could capture the full extent of the expressed variation in the region.
Project description:The Mhc is a highly conserved gene region especially interesting to geneticists because of the rapid evolution of gene families found within it. High levels of Mhc genetic diversity often exist within populations. The chicken Mhc is the focus of considerable interest because of the strong, reproducible infectious disease associations found with particular Mhc-B haplotypes. Sequence data for Mhc-B haplotypes have been lacking thereby hampering efforts to systematically resolve which genes within the Mhc-B region contribute to well-defined Mhc-B-associated disease responses. To better understand the genetic factors that generate and maintain genomic diversity in the Mhc-B region, we determined the complete genomic sequence for 14 Mhc-B haplotypes across a region of 59 kb that encompasses 14 gene loci ranging from BG1 to BF2. We compared the sequences using alignment, phylogenetic, and genome profiling methods. We identified gene structural changes, synonymous and non-synonymous polymorphisms, insertions and deletions, and allelic gene rearrangements or exchanges that contribute to haplotype diversity. Mhc-B haplotype diversity appears to be generated by a number of mutational events. We found evidence that some Mhc-B haplotypes are derived by whole- and partial-allelic gene conversion and homologous reciprocal recombination, in addition to nucleotide mutations. These data provide a framework for further analyses of disease associations found among these 14 haplotypes and additional haplotypes segregating and evolving in wild and domesticated populations of chickens.
Project description:The zebrafish is an important animal model for stem cell biology, cancer, and immunology research. Histocompatibility represents a key intersection of these disciplines; however, histocompatibility in zebrafish remains poorly understood. We examined a set of diverse zebrafish class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes that segregate with specific haplotypes at chromosome 19, and for which donor-recipient matching has been shown to improve engraftment after hematopoietic transplantation. Using flanking gene polymorphisms, we identified six distinct chromosome 19 haplotypes. We describe several novel class I U lineage genes and characterize their sequence properties, expression, and haplotype distribution. Altogether, ten full-length zebrafish class I genes were analyzed, mhc1uba through mhc1uka. Expression data and sequence properties indicate that most are candidate classical genes. Several substitutions in putative peptide anchor residues, often shared with deduced MHC molecules from additional teleost species, suggest flexibility in antigen binding. All ten zebrafish class I genes were uniquely assigned among the six haplotypes, with dominant or codominant expression of one to three genes per haplotype. Interestingly, while the divergent MHC haplotypes display variable gene copy number and content, the different genes appear to have ancient origin, with extremely high levels of sequence diversity. Furthermore, haplotype variability extends beyond the MHC genes to include divergent forms of psmb8. The many disparate haplotypes at this locus therefore represent a remarkable form of genomic region configuration polymorphism. Defining the functional MHC genes within these divergent class I haplotypes in zebrafish will provide an important foundation for future studies in immunology and transplantation.
Project description:A plausible explanation for many MHC-linked diseases is lacking. Sequencing of the MHC class I region (coding units or full contigs) in several human and nonhuman primate haplotypes allowed an analysis of single nucleotide variations (SNV) across this entire segment. This diversity was not evenly distributed. It was rather concentrated within two gene-rich clusters. These were each centered, but importantly not limited to, the antigen-presenting HLA-A and HLA-B/-C loci. Rapid evolution of MHC-I alleles, as evidenced by an unusually high number of haplotype-specific (hs) and hypervariable (hv) (which could not be traced to a single species or haplotype) SNVs within the classical MHC-I, seems to have not only hitchhiked alleles within nearby genes, but also hitchhiked deleterious mutations in these same unrelated loci. The overrepresentation of a fraction of these hvSNV (hv1SNV) along with hsSNV, as compared to those that appear to have been maintained throughout primate evolution (trans-species diversity; tsSNV; included within hv2SNV) tends to establish that the majority of the MHC polymorphism is de novo (species specific). This is most likely reminiscent of the fact that these hsSNV and hv1SNV have been selected in adaptation to the constantly evolving microbial antigenic repertoire.
Project description:The polymorphism of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II DQ and DR genes in five common equine leukocyte antigen (ELA) haplotypes was determined through sequencing of mRNA transcripts isolated from lymphocytes of eight ELA homozygous horses. Ten expressed MHC class II genes were detected in horses of the ELA-A3 haplotype carried by the donor horses of the equine bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library and the reference genome sequence: four DR genes and six DQ genes. The other four ELA haplotypes contained at least eight expressed polymorphic MHC class II loci. Next generation sequencing (NGS) of genomic DNA of these four MHC haplotypes revealed stop codons in the DQA3 gene in the ELA-A2, ELA-A5, and ELA-A9 haplotypes. Few NGS reads were obtained for the other MHC class II genes that were not amplified in these horses. The amino acid sequences across haplotypes contained locus-specific residues, and the locus clusters produced by phylogenetic analysis were well supported. The MHC class II alleles within the five tested haplotypes were largely non-overlapping between haplotypes. The complement of equine MHC class II DQ and DR genes appears to be well conserved between haplotypes, in contrast to the recently described variation in class I gene loci between equine MHC haplotypes. The identification of allelic series of equine MHC class II loci will aid comparative studies of mammalian MHC conservation and evolution and may also help to interpret associations between the equine MHC class II region and diseases of the horse.
Project description:The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) contains the most polymorphic genetic system in humans, the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes of the adaptive immune system. High allelic diversity in HLA is argued to be maintained by balancing selection, such as negative frequency-dependent selection or heterozygote advantage. Selective pressure against immune escape by pathogens can maintain appreciable frequencies of many different HLA alleles. The selection pressures operating on combinations of HLA alleles across loci, or haplotypes, have not been extensively evaluated since the high HLA polymorphism necessitates very large sample sizes, which have not been available until recently. We aimed to evaluate the effect of selection operating at the HLA haplotype level by analyzing HLA A~C~B~DRB1~DQB1 haplotype frequencies derived from over six million individuals genotyped by the National Marrow Donor Program registry. In contrast with alleles, HLA haplotype diversity patterns suggest purifying selection, as certain HLA allele combinations co-occur in high linkage disequilibrium. Linkage disequilibrium is positive (Dij'>0) among frequent haplotypes and negative (Dij'<0) among rare haplotypes. Fitting the haplotype frequency distribution to several population dynamics models, we found that the best fit was obtained when significant positive frequency-dependent selection (FDS) was incorporated. Finally, the Ewens-Watterson test of homozygosity showed excess homozygosity for 5-locus haplotypes within 23 US populations studied, with an average Fnd of 28.43. Haplotype diversity is most consistent with purifying selection for HLA Class I haplotypes (HLA-A, -B, -C), and was not inferred for HLA Class II haplotypes (-DRB1 and-DQB1). We discuss our empirical results in the context of evolutionary theory, exploring potential mechanisms of selection that maintain high linkage disequilibrium in MHC haplotype blocks.