Expression of the DRB1*1101 Allele in Meat Goats Pasture Exposed to Haemonchus contortus

Michelle M. Corley, A. Savage


The Major Histocompatibility class II complex plays an extremely important role in disease resistance and susceptibility. A mutation in the DRB1*1101 gene of the MHC II has been implicated in parasite resistance in sheep. Evaluation of the DRB1*1101 allele and the role it plays in Haemonchus contortus infected goats has not been addressed. This study evaluated expression of the DRB1*1101 allele in goats naturally infected with Haemonchus contortus infection. Total RNA was isolated from whole blood and RT-PCR (Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction) using primers designed to target the conserved regions of the human and sheep DRB1*1101 allele. The expected cDNA product was observed at the 201bp of the targeted DRB1*1101 region and verified by cloning and sequencing. Alignment of the Goat DRB1*1101 sequence showed 92% homology at the transcriptional level and 86% homology at the translational level with sheep. Goats pasture exposed to Haemonchus contortus had elevated (P < 0.05) DRB1*1101 allele expression. Expression was highest (P < 0.05) in Boer goats, lower in Myotonic goats and lowest (P < 0.05) in Spanish goats. Males had higher (P < 0.05) DRB1*1101 expression than females. DRB1*1101 gene expression was higher (P < 0.05) in younger vs. older goats. Goats showing resistance to Haemonchus contortus had lower (P < 0.05) DRB1*1101 expression than susceptible goats. Based on our findings, the DRB1*1101 gene in goats can potentially be used as a genetic marker for either resistance or susceptibility to Haemonchus contortus.

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Journal of Agricultural Science   ISSN 1916-9752 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)  E-mail:

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