Immune-mediated diseases are common and life-threatening disorders in dogs. Many canine immune-mediated diseases have strong breed predispositions and are believed to be inherited. However, the genetic mutations that cause these diseases are mostly unknown. As many immune-mediated diseases in humans share polymorphisms among a common set of genes, we conducted a candidate gene study of 15 of these genes across four immune-mediated diseases (immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, immune-mediated polyarthritis (IMPA), and atopic dermatitis) in 195 affected and 206 unaffected dogs to assess whether causative or predictive polymorphisms might exist in similar genes in dogs. We demonstrate a strong association (Fisher’s exact p = 0.0004 for allelic association, p = 0.0035 for genotypic association) between two polymorphic positions (10 bp apart) in exon 2 of one allele in DLA-79, DLA-79*001:02, and multiple immune-mediated diseases. The frequency of this allele was significantly higher in dogs with immune-mediated disease than in control dogs (0.21 vs. 0.12) and ranged from 0.28 in dogs with IMPA to 0.15 in dogs with atopic dermatitis. This allele has two non-synonymous substitutions (compared with the reference allele, DLA-79*001:01), resulting in F33L and N37D amino acid changes. These mutations occur in the peptide-binding pocket of the protein, and based upon our computational modeling studies, are likely to affect critical interactions with the peptide N-terminus. Further studies are warranted to confirm these findings more broadly and to determine the specific mechanism by which the identified variants alter canine immune system function.
- Dog leukocyte antigen
- Immune-mediated disease
- Major histocompatibility complex class Ib