Eda haplotypes in three-spined stickleback are associated with variation in immune gene expression

Robertson, Shaun and Bradley, Janette E. and MacColl, Andrew D.C. (2017) Eda haplotypes in three-spined stickleback are associated with variation in immune gene expression. Scientific Reports, 7 . p. 42677. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Haplotypes underlying local adaptation and speciation are predicted to have numerous phenotypic effects, but few genes involved have been identified, with much work to date concentrating on visible, morphological, phenotypes. The link between genes controlling these adaptive morphological phenotypes and the immune system has seldom been investigated, even though changes in the immune system could have profound adaptive consequences. The Eda gene in three-spined stickleback is one of the best studied major adaptation genes; it directly controls bony plate architecture and has been associated with additional aspects of adaptation to freshwater. Here, we exposed F2 hybrids, used to separate Eda genotype from genetic background, to contrasting conditions in semi-natural enclosures. We demonstrate an association between the Eda haplotype block and the expression pattern of key immune system genes. Furthermore, low plated fish grew less and experienced higher burdens of a common ectoparasite with fitness consequences. Little is currently known about the role of the immune system in facilitating adaptation to novel environments, but this study provides an indication of its potential importance.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Identification Number: 10.1038/srep42677
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 11:24
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2017 20:06
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/39904

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