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In 2007-2009, a major yellow fever virus (YFV) outbreak in Northern Argentina decimated the local howler monkey (Alouatta) population. To evaluate whether the surviving howler monkeys possess advantageous genetic variants inherited from monkeys alive prior to the YFV outbreak, we explored the relationship between Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 and TLR8 gene variation and YFV susceptibility. We used samples from Alouatta individuals in Misiones, Argentina alive before the YFV outbreak, individuals that died during the outbreak, and individuals that survived the outbreak and are alive today. We measured genetic divergence between Alouatta YFV exposure groups and evaluated Alouatta-specific substitutions for functional consequences. We did not find different allele frequencies in the post-YFV exposure Alouatta group compared to the pre-exposure group. We identified three nonsynonymous variants in TLR7 in Alouatta guariba clamitans. Two of these substitutions are under positive selection in functionally important regions of the gene. Our results did not indicate that surviving howler monkey spossess advantageous genetic variants at greater frequency than those alive before the YFV outbreak. However, the positively selected unique coding differences in A. guariba clamitans are in the region important in pathogen detection which may affect YFV resistance. Morework is necessary to fully explore this hypothesis. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Nicole S Torosin, Timothy H Webster, Hernán Argibay, Candelaria Sanchez Fernandez, Hebe Ferreyra, Marcela Uhart, Ilaria Agostini, Leslie A Knapp. Positively selected variants in functionally important regions of TLR7 in Alouatta guariba clamitans with yellow fever virus exposure in Northern Argentina. American journal of physical anthropology. 2020 Sep;173(1):50-60

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PMID: 32583896

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