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PloS one

Characterisation of major histocompatibility complex class I in the Australian cane toad, Rhinella marina.


PMID 25093458

Abstract

The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I is a highly variable gene family that encodes cell-surface receptors vital for recognition of intracellular pathogens and initiation of immune responses. The MHC class I has yet to be characterised in bufonid toads (Order: Anura; Suborder: Neobatrachia; Family: Bufonidae), a large and diverse family of anurans. Here we describe the characterisation of a classical MHC class I gene in the Australian cane toad, Rhinella marina. From 25 individuals sampled from the Australian population, we found only 3 alleles at this classical class I locus. We also found large number of class I alpha 1 alleles, implying an expansion of class I loci in this species. The low classical class I genetic diversity is likely the result of repeated bottleneck events, which arose as a result of the cane toad's complex history of introductions as a biocontrol agent and its subsequent invasion across Australia.