Possible Influence of B Chromosomes on Genes Included in Immune Response and Parasite Burden in Apodemus flavicollis
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Genetic background underlying wild populations immune response to different parasites is still not well understood. We studied immune response to multiple infections and to competition between different parasite species at different developmental stages in population of yellow-necked mouse, Apodemus flavicollis. Quantitative real-time PCR was used to investigate associations of MHC II-DRB, IL-10 and Tgf-beta genes expressions with presence of intestinal parasites at different developmental stages. Furthermore, we were interested whether the host related characteristics (sex, age, body condition, presence of B chromosomes or expression of other genes) or characteristics of present parasites (number of adult parasites of each identified species, egg count of each parasite genus, total number of nematode individuals) affect differential expression of the studied genes. A significant invert association between the expression of MHC II-DRB and Tgf-beta gene was found, which together with absence of IL-10 association confirmed modified Th2 as the main type of immune response to nematode infections. Effect of recorded parasites and parasite life-cycle stage on expression levels of MHC II-DRB gene was detected only through interactions with host-related characteristics such as sex, age, and the presence of B chromosomes. The presence of B chromosomes is associated with lower expression level of Tgf-beta gene. Although the influence of host genetic background on parasite infection has already been well documented, this is the first study in mammals that gave presence of B chromosomes on immune response full consideration.