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Reproductive Strategy Inferred from Major Histocompatibility Complex-Based Inter-Individual, Sperm-Egg, and Mother-Fetus Recognitions in Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

1
MOE Key Laboratory of Biosystems Homeostasis & Protection, State Conservation Centre for Gene Resources of Endangered Wildlife, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
2
China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, No. 98 Tongjiang Road, Dujiangyan 611800, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Cells 2019, 8(3), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8030257
Received: 13 December 2018 / Revised: 18 February 2019 / Accepted: 13 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) in Health and Disease)
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Abstract

Few major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-based mate choice studies include all MHC genes at the inter-individual, sperm-egg, and mother-fetus recognition levels. We tested three hypotheses of female mate choice in a 17-year study of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) while using ten functional MHC loci (four MHC class I loci: Aime-C, Aime-F, Aime-I, and Aime-L; six MHC class II loci: Aime-DRA, Aime-DRB3, Aime-DQA1, Aime-DQA2, Aime-DQB1, and Aime-DQB2); five super haplotypes (SuHa, SuHaI, SuHaII, DQ, and DR); and, seven microsatellites. We found female choice for heterozygosity at Aime-C, Aime-I, and DQ and for disassortative mate choice at Aime-C, DQ, and DR at the inter-individual recognition level. High mating success occurred in MHC-dissimilar mating pairs. No significant results were found based on any microsatellite parameters, suggesting that MHCs were the mate choice target and there were no signs of inbreeding avoidance. Our results indicate Aime-DQA1- and Aime-DQA2-associated disassortative selection at the sperm-egg recognition level and a possible Aime-C- and Aime-I-associated assortative maternal immune tolerance mechanism. The MHC genes were of differential importance at the different recognition levels, so all of the functional MHC genes should be included when studying MHC-dependent reproductive mechanisms. View Full-Text
Keywords: MHC-I- and MHC-II-dependent inter-individual recognition; MHC-II-associated sperm-egg recognition; MHC-I-based mother-fetus recognition; giant panda; long-fragment super haplotype MHC-I- and MHC-II-dependent inter-individual recognition; MHC-II-associated sperm-egg recognition; MHC-I-based mother-fetus recognition; giant panda; long-fragment super haplotype
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhu, Y.; Wan, Q.-H.; Zhang, H.-M.; Fang, S.-G. Reproductive Strategy Inferred from Major Histocompatibility Complex-Based Inter-Individual, Sperm-Egg, and Mother-Fetus Recognitions in Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Cells 2019, 8, 257.

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