Characterization of class II beta chain major histocompatibility complex genes in a family of Hawaiian honeycreepers: ’amakihi (Hemignathus virens).
Jarvi SI, Bianchi KR, Farias ME, Txakeeyang A, McFarland T, Belcaid M, Asano A.
Jarvi SI, Bianchi KR, Farias ME, Txakeeyang A, McFarland T, Belcaid M, Asano A. (2016) Characterization of class II beta chain major histocompatibility complex genes in a family of Hawaiian honeycreepers: ’amakihi (Hemignathus virens). Immunogenetics
Hawaiian honeycreepers (Drepanidinae) have evolved in the absence of mosquitoes for over five million years. Through human activity, mosquitoes were introduced to the Hawaiian archipelago less than 200Â years ago. Mosquito-vectored diseases such as avian malaria caused by Plasmodium relictum and Avipoxviruses have greatly impacted these vulnerable species. Susceptibility to these diseases is variable among and within species. Due to their function in adaptive immunity, the role of major histocompatibility complex genes (Mhc) in disease susceptibility is under investigation. In this study, we evaluate gene organization and levels of diversity of Mhc class II beta chain genes (exon 2) in a captive-reared family of Hawaii ’amakihi (Hemignathus virens). A total of 233 sequences (173Â bp) were obtained by PCR+1 amplification and cloning, and 5720 sequences were generated by Roche 454 pyrosequencing. We report a total of 17 alleles originating from a minimum of 14 distinct loci. We detected three linkage groups that appear to represent three distinct haplotypes. Phylogenetic analysis revealed one variable cluster resembling classical Mhc sequences (DAB) and one highly conserved, low variability cluster resembling non-classical Mhc sequences (DBB). High net evolutionary divergence values between DAB and DBB resemble that seen between chicken BLB system and YLB system genes. High amino acid identity among non-classical alleles from 12 species of passerines (DBB) and four species of Galliformes (YLB) was found, suggesting that these non-classical passerine sequences may be related to the Galliforme YLB sequences.