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Measuring the immune system of the three-spined stickleback: investigating natural variation by quantifying immune expression in the laboratory and the wild

Robertson, Shaun; Bradley, Janette E.; MacColl, Andrew D.C.

Authors

Janette E. Bradley

ANDREW MACCOLL ANDREW.MACCOLL@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Professor of Evolutionary Ecology



Abstract

Current understanding of the immune system comes primarily from lab-based studies. There has been substantial interest in examining how it functions in the wild, but studies have been limited by a lack of appropriate assays and study species. The three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.) provides an ideal system in which to advance the study of wild immunology, but requires the development of suitable immune assays. We demonstrate that meaningful variation in the immune response of stickleback can be measured using real-time PCR to quantify the expression of eight genes, representing the innate response and Th1, Th2 and Treg type adaptive responses. Assays are validated by comparing the immune expression profiles of wild and laboratory raised stickleback, and by examining variation across populations on North Uist, Scotland. We also compare the immune response potential of laboratory raised individuals from two Icelandic populations by stimulating cells in culture. Immune profiles of wild fish differed from laboratory-raised fish from the same parental population, with immune expression patterns in the wild converging relative to those in the laboratory. Innate measures differed between wild populations, whilst the adaptive response was associated with variation in age, relative size of fish, reproductive status and S. solidus infection levels. Laboratory-raised individuals from different populations showed markedly different innate immune response potential. The ability to combine studies in the laboratory and in the wild underline the potential of this toolkit to advance our understanding of the ecological and evolutionary relevance of immune system variation in a natural setting.

Citation

Robertson, S., Bradley, J. E., & MacColl, A. D. (2016). Measuring the immune system of the three-spined stickleback: investigating natural variation by quantifying immune expression in the laboratory and the wild. Molecular Ecology Resources, 16(3), https://doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.12497

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 26, 2015
Online Publication Date Dec 21, 2015
Publication Date May 1, 2016
Deposit Date Apr 19, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 19, 2016
Journal Molecular Ecology Resources
Print ISSN 1755-098X
Electronic ISSN 1755-0998
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 3
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.12497
Keywords Host-pathogen interactions; Immunoecology; Immunoregulation; Wild
immunology; Parasite resistance; Gene expression
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/32816
Publisher URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1755-0998.12497/full
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Robertson_et_al-2016-Molecular_Ecology_Resources.pdf (285 Kb)
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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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