Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Effects of an IgE receptor polymorphism acting on immunity, susceptibility to infection, and reproduction in a wild rodent

Wanelik, Klara M; Begon, Mike; Bradley, Janette E; Friberg, Ida M; Jackson, Joseph A; Taylor, Christopher H; Paterson, Steve


Klara M Wanelik

Mike Begon

Janette E Bradley

Ida M Friberg

Joseph A Jackson

Steve Paterson


Sarah E Cobey

Jos W van der Meer


The genotype of an individual is an important predictor of their immune function, and subsequently, their ability to control or avoid infection and ultimately contribute offspring to the next generation. However, the same genotype, subjected to different intrinsic and/or extrinsic environments, can also result in different phenotypic outcomes, which can be missed in controlled laboratory studies. Natural wildlife populations, which capture both genotypic and environmental variability, provide an opportunity to more fully understand the phenotypic expression of genetic variation. We identified a synonymous polymorphism in the high-affinity Immunoglobulin E (IgE) receptor (GC and non-GC haplotypes) that has sex-dependent effects on immune gene expression, susceptibility to infection, and reproductive success of individuals in a natural population of field voles (Microtus agrestis). We found that the effect of the GC haplotype on the expression of immune genes differed between sexes. Regardless of sex, both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory genes were more highly relatively expressed in individuals with the GC haplotype than individuals without the haplotype. However, males with the GC haplotype showed a stronger signal for pro-inflammatory genes, while females showed a stronger signal for anti-inflammatory genes. Furthermore, we found an effect of the GC haplotype on the probability of infection with a common microparasite, Babesia microti, in females – with females carrying the GC haplotype being more likely to be infected. Finally, we found an effect of the GC haplotype on reproductive success in males – with males carrying the GC haplotype having a lower reproductive success. This is a rare example of a polymorphism whose consequences we are able to follow across immunity, infection, and reproduction for both males and females in a natural population.


Wanelik, K. M., Begon, M., Bradley, J. E., Friberg, I. M., Jackson, J. A., Taylor, C. H., & Paterson, S. (2023). Effects of an IgE receptor polymorphism acting on immunity, susceptibility to infection, and reproduction in a wild rodent. eLife, Article e77666.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 22, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 16, 2023
Publication Date Jan 16, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 9, 2023
Journal eLife
Publisher eLife Sciences Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Article Number e77666
Keywords Research Article, Genetics and Genomics, Immunology and Inflammation, Microtus agrestis, Fcer1a, phenotypic expression, inflammatory response, sex, Other
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations