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Data from: Experimental manipulation of population-level MHC diversity controls pathogen virulence evolution in Mus musculus

Citation

Cornwall, Douglas H. et al. (2018), Data from: Experimental manipulation of population-level MHC diversity controls pathogen virulence evolution in Mus musculus, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3h0q8

Abstract

The virulence levels attained by serial passage of pathogens through similar host genotypes are much higher than observed in natural systems, however, it is unknown what keeps natural virulence levels below these empirically demonstrated maximum levels. One hypothesis suggests that host diversity impedes pathogen virulence, because adaptation to one host genotype carries tradeoffs in the ability to replicate and cause disease in other host genotypes. To test this hypothesis, with the simplest level of population diversity within the loci of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), we serially passaged Friend Virus Complex (FVC) through two rounds, in hosts with either the same MHC genotypes (pure passage) or hosts with different MHC genotypes (alternated passage). Alternated passages showed a significant overall reduction of viral titer (31%) and virulence (54%) when compared to pure passages. Furthermore, a resistant host genotype initially dominated any effects due to MHC diversity, however, when FVC was allowed to adapt to the resistant host genotype, predicted MHC effects emerged, i.e. alternated lines show reduced virulence. These data indicate serial exposure to diverse MHC genotypes is an impediment to pathogen adaptation, suggesting genetic variation at MHC loci is important for limiting virulence in a rapidly evolving pathogen and supports negative frequency-dependent selection as a force maintaining MHC diversity in host populations.

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