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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Animal Genomics for Animal Health (AGAH 2010)

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The three-way relationship of polymorphisms of porcine genes encoding terminal complement components, their differential expression, and health-related phenotypes

Klaus Wimmers1*, Do Vo Anh Khoa12, Sabine Schütze1, Eduard Murani1 and Siriluck Ponsuksili1

Author affiliations

1 Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), 18196 Dummerstorf, Germany

2 present address: Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture and Applied Biology, Cantho University, 92100 Cantho City, Vietnam

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Citation and License

BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 4):S19  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S4-S19

Published: 3 June 2011



The complement system is an evolutionary ancient mechanism that plays an essential role in innate immunity and contributes to the acquired immune response. Three modes of activation, known as classical, alternative and lectin pathway, lead to the initiation of a common terminal lytic pathway. The terminal complement components (TCCs: C6, C7, C8A, C8B, and C9) are encoded by the genes C6, C7, C8A, C8B, C8G, and C9. We aimed at experimentally testing the porcine genes encoding TCCs as candidate genes for immune competence and disease resistance by addressing the three-way relationship of genotype, health related phenotype, and mRNA expression.


Comparative sequencing of cDNAs of animals of the breeds German Landrace, Piétrain, Hampshire, Duroc, Vietnamese Potbelly Pig, and Berlin Miniature Pig (BMP) revealed 30 SNPs (21 in protein domains, 12 with AA exchange). The promoter regions (each ~1.5 kb upstream the transcription start sites) of C6, C7, C8A, C8G, and C9 exhibited 29 SNPs. Significant effects of the TCC encoding genes on hemolytic complement activity were shown in a cross of Duroc and BMP after vaccination against Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, Aujeszky disease virus and PRRSV by analysis of variance using repeated measures mixed models. Family based association tests (FBAT) confirmed the associations. The promoter SNPs were associated with the relative abundance of TCC transcripts obtained by real time RT-PCR of 311 liver samples of commercial slaughter pigs. Complement gene expression showed significant relationship with the prevalence of acute and chronic lung lesions.


The analyses point to considerable variation of the porcine TCC genes and promote the genes as candidate genes for disease resistance.