The genetics of immune and infection phenotypes in wild mice, Mus musculus domesticus

Louise Cheynel, Luke Lazarou, Eleanor M. Riley, Mark Viney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Wild animals are under constant threat from a wide range of micro- and macroparasites in their environment. Animals make immune responses against parasites, and these are important in affecting the dynamics of parasite populations. Individual animals vary in their anti-parasite immune responses. Genetic polymorphism of immune-related loci contributes to inter-individual differences in immune responses, but most of what we know in this regard comes from studies of humans or laboratory animals; there are very few such studies of wild animals naturally infected with parasites. Here we have investigated the effect of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in immune-related loci (the major histocompatibility complex [MHC], and loci coding for cytokines and Toll-like receptors) on a wide range of immune and infection phenotypes in UK wild house mice, Mus musculus domesticus. We found strong associations between SNPs in various MHC and cytokine-coding loci on both immune measures (antibody concentration and cytokine production) and on infection phenotypes (infection with mites, worms and viruses). Our study provides a comprehensive view of how polymorphism of immune-related loci affects immune and infection phenotypes in naturally infected wild rodent populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4242-4258
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number15
Early online date1 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2023


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