Novel alleles in classical major histocompatibility complex class II loci of the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

Olivia Holland, P Cowan, Dianne Gleeson, Larry Chamley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We have investigated the diversity of class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci in the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), an important marsupial pest species in New Zealand. Immunocontraceptive vaccines, a method of fertility control that employs the immune system to attack reproductive cells or proteins, are currently being researched as a means of population control for the possum. Variation has been observed in the immune response of individual possums to immunocontraceptives. If this variability is under genetic control, it could compromise vaccine efficacy through preferential selection of animals that fail to mount a significant immune response and remain fertile. The MHC is an important immune region for antigen presentation and as such may influence the response to immunocontraceptives. We used known marsupial MHC sequences to design polymerase chain reaction primers to screen for possum MHC loci. Alpha and beta chains from two class II families, DA and DB, were found in possums throughout New Zealand. Forty new class II MHC alleles were identified in the possum, and the levels of variability in the MHC of this marsupial appear to be comparable to those of eutherian species. Preliminary population surveys showed evidence of clustering/variability in the distribution of MHC alleles in geographically separate locations. The extensive variation demonstrated in possums reinforces the need for further research to assess the risk that such MHC variation poses for long-term immunocontraceptive vaccine efficacy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)449-460
    Number of pages12
    JournalImmunogenetics
    Volume60
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Fingerprint

    Trichosurus
    Major Histocompatibility Complex
    Alleles
    Marsupialia
    Vaccines
    New Zealand
    Population Control
    Antigen Presentation
    Contraception
    Cluster Analysis
    Immune System
    Polymerase Chain Reaction

    Cite this

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    abstract = "We have investigated the diversity of class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci in the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), an important marsupial pest species in New Zealand. Immunocontraceptive vaccines, a method of fertility control that employs the immune system to attack reproductive cells or proteins, are currently being researched as a means of population control for the possum. Variation has been observed in the immune response of individual possums to immunocontraceptives. If this variability is under genetic control, it could compromise vaccine efficacy through preferential selection of animals that fail to mount a significant immune response and remain fertile. The MHC is an important immune region for antigen presentation and as such may influence the response to immunocontraceptives. We used known marsupial MHC sequences to design polymerase chain reaction primers to screen for possum MHC loci. Alpha and beta chains from two class II families, DA and DB, were found in possums throughout New Zealand. Forty new class II MHC alleles were identified in the possum, and the levels of variability in the MHC of this marsupial appear to be comparable to those of eutherian species. Preliminary population surveys showed evidence of clustering/variability in the distribution of MHC alleles in geographically separate locations. The extensive variation demonstrated in possums reinforces the need for further research to assess the risk that such MHC variation poses for long-term immunocontraceptive vaccine efficacy.",
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    author = "Olivia Holland and P Cowan and Dianne Gleeson and Larry Chamley",
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    Novel alleles in classical major histocompatibility complex class II loci of the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). / Holland, Olivia; Cowan, P; Gleeson, Dianne; Chamley, Larry.

    In: Immunogenetics, Vol. 60, 2008, p. 449-460.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Cowan, P

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