Adaptive evolution of Toll-like receptor 5 in domesticated mammals

Sarah A Smith, Oliver C Jann, David Haig, George C Russell, Dirk Werling, Elizabeth J Glass, Richard D Emes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)


BACKGROUND: Previous studies have proposed that mammalian toll like receptors (TLRs) have evolved under diversifying selection due to their role in pathogen detection. To determine if this is the case, we examined the extent of adaptive evolution in the TLR5 gene in both individual species and defined clades of the mammalia.

RESULTS: In support of previous studies, we find evidence of adaptive evolution of mammalian TLR5. However, we also show that TLR5 genes of domestic livestock have a concentration of single nucleotide polymorphisms suggesting a specific signature of adaptation. Using codon models of evolution we have identified a concentration of rapidly evolving codons within the TLR5 extracellular domain a site of interaction between host and the bacterial surface protein flagellin.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that interactions between pathogen and host may be driving adaptive change in TLR5 by competition between species. In support of this, we have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in sheep and cattle TLR5 genes that are co-localised and co-incident with the predicted adaptive codons suggesting that adaptation in this region of the TLR5 gene is on-going in domestic species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122
JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2012


  • Adaptation, Biological/genetics
  • Animals
  • Bacteria/genetics
  • Cattle/genetics
  • Codon
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Flagellin/genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics
  • Livestock/genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Sheep/genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 5/genetics

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