Investigating the role of toll-like receptor polymorphisms in susceptibility to canine distemper virus

Angelika K. Loots, Elaine Cardoso-Vermaak, Estelle H. Venter, Emily Mitchell, Antoinette Kotze, Desire Lee Dalton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a global multi-host pathogen of wildlife. Toll-like receptors (TLR) are
key recognition structures of the innate immune system. To investigate host susceptibility to CDV, the
presence of non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the coding regions of TLR 2, 3,
4, 7 and 8 genes were investigated in two recent CDV outbreaks in South Africa. The first case consisted
of five lions (Panthera leo), diagnosed with CDV. Four of the lions died following exposure to the virus.
The second case consisted of six African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) with CDV and one surviving African
wild dog. TLR diversity showed a higher rate of polymorphism in the African wild dogs within each of
the TLR loci compared to lions. A single amino acid change (Met527Thr) within the leucine rich repeat of
TLR2 was observed in the single surviving lioness. This alteration resulted in a non-polar to polar group
change, potentially influencing the expression and function of TLR2. No specific amino acid alterations
could be associated with CDV susceptibility in the African wild dogs. This study provides a critical starting
point in elucidating the mechanism involved in host immunity and therefore susceptibility towards CDV
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-99
Number of pages6
JournalMammalian Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2017


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