Divergent antimicrobial peptide (AMP) and acute phase protein (APP) responses to Trypanosoma congolense infection in trypanotolerant and trypanosusceptible cattle

Kieran G Meade, Grace M O'Gorman, Emmeline W Hill, Fernando Narciandi, Morris Agaba, Stephen J Kemp, Cliona O'Farrelly, David E MacHugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT) is endemic across Sub-Saharan African and is a major constraint to livestock production. The ability of certain cattle breeds to remain productive despite infection is known as trypanotolerance; however, the underlying immune mechanisms contributing to this trait remain poorly understood. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and acute phase proteins (APPs) are evolutionarily conserved effector molecules of the innate immune system that have important roles in the resolution of infection and activation of the adaptive immune response. Expression levels of AMP genes (TAP, LAP, BNBD4, DEFB1, DEFB5 and LEAP2) and APP genes (HP, CP, AGP, LBP, SAA3 and CRP) were investigated using real time quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) isolated from two breeds of African cattle (trypanotolerant N'Dama and trypanosusceptible Boran), experimentally infected with Trypanosoma congolense. Haptoglobin and serum amyloid A (SAA) were also measured in plasma using quantitative protein assays. Results demonstrated that tracheal antimicrobial peptide (TAP) gene expression increased by 32-fold in Boran, compared to only 3-fold in N'Dama, by 14 days post-infection (dpi) and rising to 136-fold at 29 dpi in Boran, compared to 47-fold in N'Dama (P<0.05). Protein expression levels of SAA are elevated in N'Dama, rising to 163 microg/ml at 14 dpi compared with 72 microg/ml in Boran. The SAA expression profile mirrors the wave of parasitaemia detected in N'Dama. Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified in the promoter regions of the SAA3 and SAA4 genes, which are predicted to affect transcription factor binding and thereby contributing to the differential patterns of expression detected between the breeds. Whereas elevated TAP expression is a conserved component of the innate immune response to infection in both breeds, higher SAA expression levels may contribute toward trypanotolerance in N'Dama.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Animals
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Breeding
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Haptoglobins
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Serum Amyloid A Protein
  • Time Factors
  • Trachea
  • Trypanosoma congolense
  • Trypanosomiasis, African


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