Identification and characterization of porcine mannan-binding lectin A (pMBL-A), and determination of serum concentration heritability

H. R. Juul-Madsen, T. Krogh-Meibom, M. Henryon, N. Palaniyar, Peter M. H. Heegaard, S. Purup, A.C. Willis, I. Tornoe, K. Ingvartsen, S. Hansen, U. Holmskov

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Mannan-binding lectin (MBL) is an innate immune collectin present in the serum of humans and many farm animals. This oligomeric pattern-recognition protein effectively binds to the glycoconjugate arrays present on the surfaces of microorganisms and activates the complement system to enhance pathogen killing and clearance. MBL deficiency is often associated with immunodeficiency in humans. Although two MBLs (MBL-A and MBL-C) have been characterized in various species, the identity of porcine MBL (pMBL) was not clearly defined. In this study, we purified an MBL from porcine serum by mannose affinity, ion exchange, and size exclusion chromatography and determined many of its characteristics. Based on the N-terminal sequence, multiple sequence alignment, and relative affinities to various carbohydrate ligands, we propose that the MBL purified in this study is pMBL-A. We have generated antibodies to this protein and established an immunoassay to quantify pMBL-A in serum. Using this assay, we found breed differences in pMBL-A concentration distributions and heritability estimates. In the Duroc breed (n=588), pMBL-A concentrations show a unimodal distribution with a mean of 9,125 ng/ml. In contrast, the pMBL-A concentration distributions in the Landrace breed (n=533) show three distinct mean values: 301, 2,385, and 11,507 ng/ml. Furthermore, heritability calculations based on an additive genetic variance model with no fixed effects indicate that serum pMBL-A concentration is highly heritable in the Landrace (h(2)=0.8) but not in the Duroc breed (h(2)=0.15). These genetic differences may be useful in selecting breeding pigs for improved disease resistance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number2-3
    Pages (from-to)129-137
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • pigs
    • acute phase reactants
    • innate immunity
    • infections
    • mannan-binding lectin

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