Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the bovine TLR2 extracellular domain contribute to breed and species-specific innate immune functionality

Marie-Christine Bartens, Amanda J. Gibson, Graham J. Etherington, Federica Di Palma, Angela Holder, Dirk Werling, Sam Willcocks

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Recent evidence suggests that several cattle breeds may be more resistant to infection with the zoonotic pathogen Mycobacterium bovis. Our data presented here suggests that the response to mycobacterial antigens varies in macrophages generated from Brown Swiss (BS) and Holstein Friesian (HF) cattle, two breeds belonging to the Bos taurus family. Whole genome sequencing of the Brown Swiss genome identified several potential candidate genes, in particular Toll-like Receptor-2 (TLR2), a pattern recognition receptor (PRR) that has previously been described to be involved in mycobacterial recognition. Further investigation revealed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in TLR2 that were identified between DNA isolated from cells of BS and HF cows. Interestingly, one specific SNP, H326Q, showed a different genotype frequency in two cattle subspecies, Bos (B.) taurus and Bos indicus. Cloning of the TLR2 gene and subsequent gene-reporter and chemokine assays revealed that this SNP, present in BS and Bos indicus breeds, resulted in a significantly higher response to mycobacterial antigens as well as tri-acylated lipopeptide ligands in general. Comparing wild-type and H326Q containing TLR2 responses, wild-type bovine TLR2 response showed clear, diminished mycobacterial antigen responses compared to human TLR2, however bovine TLR2 responses containing H326Q were found to be partially recovered compared to human TLR2. The creation of human:bovine TLR2 chimeras increased the response to mycobacterial antigens compared to the full-length bovine TLR2, but significantly reduced the response compared to the full-length human TLR2. Thus, our data, not only present evidence that TLR2 is a major PRR in the mammalian species-specific response to mycobacterial antigens, but furthermore, that there are clear differences between the response seen in different cattle breeds, which may contribute to their enhanced or reduced susceptibility to mycobacterial infection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number764390
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2021

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