Zygosity at the major histocompatibility class IIB locus predicts susceptibility to Renibacterium salmoninarum in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.)


S. M. Turner, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 757040, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7040, USA.
E-mail: s.turner@uaf.edu


Major histocompatibility (MH) class II genes play an important role in the vertebrate immune response. Here, we investigate the relationship between Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) MH class IIB zygosity and susceptibility to Renibacterium salmoninarum, the causal agent of bacterial kidney disease. By combining DNA sequences from the salmon MH class IIB gene with quantitative ELISA data on R. salmoninarum antigen levels, we found that MH class IIB homozygotes were significantly more susceptible to R. salmoninarum than heterozygotes. These findings are discussed in the context of current evolutionary theory.