The cane toad has gained notoriety for its invasion across the Australian landscape, with significant impacts on the native Australian fauna. The invasion has accelerated over time, with invading cane toads adapted for highly dispersive traits. This, however, has come at the cost of the immune system, with lower investment in some immune functions. To investigate the cane toad’s immunogenetics, we characterized four major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class IIA and three MHC class IIB loci. Preliminary observations suggest very low allelic diversity at all loci. We also observed various splice isoforms. One isoform seen at one class IIA and two class IIB loci was missing exon 2, which is essential to peptide binding and presentation. The other isoform, observed at a class IIA locus, is likely to be a soluble MHC product. These results may suggest a significant role of alternative splicing of MHC loci in the Australian cane toad.
- major histocompatibility complex
- invasive species
- adaptive genetic