Evidence for cattle major histocompatibility complex (BoLA) class II DQA1 gene heterozygote advantage against clinical mastitis caused by Streptococci and Escherichia species

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Mastitis is an inflammatory response of the mammary gland to irritation, injury, or infectious agents and is a major problem in the dairy industry. We genotyped bovine major histocompatibility complex (BoLA)-DRB3 and BoLA-DQA1 genes in 120 Holstein cattle with clinical mastitis and 85 randomly selected Holstein cattle in Japan by polymerase chain reaction–sequence-based typing. The mastitis cattle were divided into four groups according to the bacterial species that caused the mastitis (Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococci, Escherichia, and coagulase-negative staphylococci). The BoLA-DRB3 and BoLA-DQA1 heterozygosity of each group was compared with that of the control cattle, while the expected heterozygosities based on Hardy–Weinberg proportions and the observed heterozygosities for each locus were compared for each group. The Escherichia-induced and Streptococci-induced mastitis groups showed significant differences between their expected and observed heterozygosities with regard to their BoLA-DQA1 genes. No differences were observed for any group with regard to the BoLA-DRB3 genes. We then found that two BoLA-DQA1 alleles promoted susceptibility to Streptococci-induced mastitis, namely BoLA-DQA1*0101 and BoLA-DQA1*10012 and that the homozygous BoLA-DQA1*0101/0101 and BoLA-DQA1*10011/10011 genotypes promoted susceptibility to mastitis caused by Streptococci and Escherichia, respectively. This is the first report showing that heterozygosity of the BoLA-DQA1 gene is associated with resistance to mastitis progression.

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