Positive selection in coding regions and motif duplication in regulatory regions of bottlenose dolphin MHC class II genes.
ABSTRACT: The vertebrate immune response is mediated through highly adaptive, quickly evolving cell surface receptors, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). MHC molecules bind and present a diverse array of pathogenic molecules and trigger a cascade of defenses. Use of MHC variation as a marker for population health has also evolved quickly following advances in sequencing methods. We applied a combination of traditional and next generation sequencing methodology to characterize coding (peptide binding region) and regulatory (proximal promoter) sequence variation in MHC Class II DQA and DQB genes between estuarine and coastal populations of the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, an apex predator whose health status is indicative of anthropogenic impacts on the ecosystem. The coding regions had 10 alleles each at DQA and DQB; the promoters had 6 and 7 alleles at DQA and DQB, respectively with variation within key regulatory motifs. Positive selection was observed for the coding regions of both genes while both coding and promoter regions exhibited geographic differences in allele composition that likely indicates diversifying selection across habitats. Most notable was the discovery of a complete duplication of a 14-bp T-box motif in the DQA promoter. Four class II promoter regions (DQA, DQB, DRA, DRB) were characterized in species from four cetacean families (Delphinidae, Monodontidae, Lipotidae, and Physeteridae) and revealed substantial promoter structural diversity across this order. Peptide binding regions may not be the only source of adaptive potential within cetacean MHC for responding to pathogenic threats. These findings are the first analysis of cetacean MHC regulatory motifs, which may divulge unique immunogenetic strategies among cetaceans and reveal how MHC transcriptional control continues to evolve. The combined MHC regulatory and coding data provide new genetic context for distinct vulnerability profiles between coastal and estuarine populations, which are key concerns for health and risk management.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC6155461 | BioStudies |