The genetic architecture of defence as resistance to and tolerance of bacterial infection in Drosophila melanogaster

Howick, V. M. and Lazzaro, B. P. (2017) The genetic architecture of defence as resistance to and tolerance of bacterial infection in Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular Ecology, 26(6), pp. 1533-1546. (doi: 10.1111/mec.14017) (PMID:28099780)

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Defence against pathogenic infection can take two forms: resistance and tolerance. Resistance is the ability of the host to limit a pathogen burden, whereas tolerance is the ability to limit the negative consequences of infection at a given level of infection intensity. Evolutionarily, a tolerance strategy that is independent of resistance could allow the host to avoid mounting a costly immune response and, theoretically, to avoid a co‐evolutionary arms race between pathogen virulence and host resistance. Biomedically, understanding the mechanisms of tolerance and how they relate to resistance could potentially yield treatment strategies that focus on health improvement instead of pathogen elimination. To understand the impact of tolerance on host defence and identify genetic variants that determine host tolerance, we defined genetic variation in tolerance as the residual deviation from a binomial regression of fitness under infection against infection intensity. We then performed a genomewide association study to map the genetic basis of variation in resistance to and tolerance of infection by the bacterium Providencia rettgeri. We found a positive genetic correlation between resistance and tolerance, and we demonstrated that the level of resistance is highly predictive of tolerance. We identified 30 loci that predict tolerance, many of which are in genes involved in the regulation of immunity and metabolism. We used RNAi to confirm that a subset of mapped genes have a role in defence, including putative wound repair genes grainy head and debris buster. Our results indicate that tolerance is not an independent strategy from resistance, but that defence arises from a collection of physiological processes intertwined with canonical immunity and resistance.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by grant R01 AI083932 from the United States National Institutes of Health.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Howick, Dr Virginia
Authors: Howick, V. M., and Lazzaro, B. P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Molecular Ecology
ISSN (Online):1365-294X
Published Online:16 March 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 John Wiley and Sons Ltd
First Published:First published in Molecular Ecology 26(6):1533-1546
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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