Genomic Structure and Tissue Expression of the NK-Lysin Gene Family in Bison. Academic Article uri icon


  • Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a class of natural peptides with varying numbers of amino acids. They are principal components of innate immunity in vertebrates, encoding natural antibiotics and providing a protective response against a broad range of microbes including those responsible for tuberculosis, an important disease in bison. NK-lysins are AMPs that have been described in various organisms and are coded by a single gene in several mammalian species, including human. Recently, we described a family of 4 NK-lysin genes in cattle. Here, we examined NK-lysin genes in bison and identified 4 bison paralogs (NK1, NK2A, NK2B, and NK2C), although the current bison genome assembly annotates only 2 (NK1 and NK2). Sequence and phylogenetic analysis support the triplication of NK2 prior to the most recent common ancestor of bison and cattle. Comparative mapping of bison and cattle paralogs indicates that the NK-lysin family is located on bison chromosome 11 with well-conserved synteny of flanking genes relative to cattle. The 3 bison NK-lysin2 genes share high sequence similarity with each other. RNA-seq analysis demonstrates that NK2A, NK2B, and NK2C are expressed primarily in the lung, whereas NK1 is expressed at low levels in all tissues studied. This tissue expression pattern differs from that previously reported for cattle, suggesting some divergence in function since the evolutionary separation of the 2 species.

published proceedings

  • J Hered

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, M. O., Dobson, L., Davis, B. W., Skow, L., Derr, J., & Womack, J. E.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Mi Ok||Dobson, Lauren||Davis, Brian W||Skow, Loren||Derr, James||Womack, James E

publication date

  • June 2018