The chicken MHCY region contains members of several gene families including a family of highly polymorphic MHC class I genes that are structurally distinct from their classical class I gene counterparts. Genetic variability at MHCY could impart variability in immune responses, but robust tests for whether or not this occurs have been lacking. Here we defined the MHCY genotypes present in 2 sets of chicken lines selected for high or low antibody response, the Virginia Tech (VT) HAS and LAS, and the Wageningen University (WU) HA and LA lines. Both sets were developed under long-term bidirectional selection for differences in antibody responses following immunization with the experimental antigen sheep red blood cells. Lines in which selection was relaxed (VT HAR and LAR) or lacking (WU C) provided controls. We looked for evidence of association between MHCY genotypes and antibody titers. Chickens were typed for MHCY using a recently developed method based on a multilocus short tandem repeat sequence found across MHCY haplotypes. Five MHCY haplotypes were found segregating in the VT HAS and LAS lines. One haplotype was present only in HAS chickens, and another was present only in LAS chickens with distribution of the remaining 3 haplotypes differing significantly between the lines. In the WU HA and LA lines, there was a similar MHCY asymmetry. The control populations lacked similar asymmetries. These observations support the likelihood of MHCY genetics affecting heritable antibody responses and provide a basis for further investigations into the role of MHCY region genes in guiding immune responses in chickens.
- heritable antibody responses
- Virginia Tech HAS and LAS
- Wageningen University HA and LA