Association of TLR gene variants in a Czech Red Pied cattle population with reproductive traits

BJELKA, Marek and NOVÁK, Karel. Association of TLR gene variants in a Czech Red Pied cattle population with reproductive traits. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology , 2020, vol. 220(February), p. Article number 109997. ISSN 0165-2427.
CathegoryScientific publication in impacted journals
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The bovine genes TLR1, TLR2 and TLR6, which encode Toll-like receptors, key components of the innate immune system, were screened for polymorphisms in Czech Red Pied (Czech Simmental) cattle, and the different variants present in the population were tested for association with reproductive and fitness traits. Diversity was investigated in a group of 164 bulls using hybrid resequencing of pooled amplicons with PacBio technology and of pooled genomic DNA using HiSeq X-Ten technology. The validated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in individual animals using the primer extension technique. The association of genotypic classes of 16 polymorphisms with six phenotypic traits were estimated with one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and with restricted maximum likelihood (REML) algorithm. The evaluated traits included the incidence of cystic ovaries, index of early reproductive disorders, paternal and maternal indicators of calving ease, production longevity and calf vitality index. The estimated breeding values were used for combined trait quantification. Early traits, namely, cystic ovaries and early reproductive disorders, were not associated with any of the tested polymorphisms according to the general ANOVA test. By contrast, five variants of all three genes were associated with calving ease, both paternal and maternal. The production longevity correlated with two variants of TLR1 and the calf vitality index correlated with the 1044 T > C (rs68268249) polymorphism in TLR2. The false discovery rate (FDR) according to Benjamini-Hochberg was favourable for the calving ease trait (0.221) and maternal calving ease (0.214), which allows to consider the observed associations real, regardless of the error arising from the multiple comparisons. These results were supported by REML only partially, probably in view of the additivity assumption. Two mechanisms of action on calving are conceivable, either via infection resistance or via the involvement of TLR2 in signalling in the myometrium. The known formation of heterodimers by the TLR1, -2 and -6 products might be responsible for the shared pattern of action in these genes. The association of the calf vitality index with TLR2 variation might reflect the increased role of infections in calves compared to adult animals.