Allelic variation inTLR4is linked to resistance toSalmonellaEnteritidis infection in chickens
Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) is a foodborne pathogen that negatively affects both animal and human health. Polymorphisms of the TLR4 gene may affect recognition by Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), leading to differences in host resistance to pathogenic infections. The present study has investigated polymorphic loci of chicken TLR4 (ChTLR4) in ten chicken breeds, electrostatic potentials of mutant structures of TLR4, and a linkage analysis between allelic variation and survival ratio to infection with SE in specific-pathogen-free (SPF) White Leghorns. A total of 19 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), of which 10 were novel, were found in chicken breeds. Seven newly identified amino acid variants (C68G, G674A, G782A, A896T, T959G, T986A, and A1104C) and previously reported important mutations (G247A, G1028A, C1147T, and A1832G) were demonstrated in the extracellular domain of the ChTLR4 gene. Significant changes in surface electrostatic potential of the ectodomain of TLR4, built by homology modeling, were observed at the Glu83Lys (G247A), Arg298Ser (A896T), Ser368Arg (A1104C), and Gln611Arg (A1832G) substitutions. Linkage analysis showed that one polymorphic locus G247A of TLR4 gene, common in all breeds examined, was significantly associated with increased resistance to SE in SPF White Leghorns chicks (log-rank P-value = 0.04). The genotypes from A1832G SNPs did not show statistically significant survival differences. This study has provided the first direct evidence that G247A substitution in ChTLR4 is associated with increased resistance to Salmonella Enteritidis.