Abstracts (first author)
Male pregnancy and immune defence anomaly
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) - mediated adaptive immune system was claimed to be the hallmark of vertebrate immune defence. Now recent work suggests that vertebrate immune systems and in particular the MHC - mediated immunity are much more plastic than previously assumed. Based on deep-transcriptome sequencing, we report the loss of the MHC class II immune pathway in the sex-role reversed pipefish Syngnathus typhle. In contrast, MHC class I genes were present, and their diversity correlates with the efficiency of immunity and male mate choice behavior. We identify “sex-role reversal” as a potential selection factor for loss of MHC II and other surprising anomalies in the pipefish immune defence, and give an outlook of how this can affect host-parasite coevolution.