Polymorphisms of the Toll-Like Receptor 2 of Goats (<i>Capra hircus</i>) may be Associated with Somatic Cell Count in Milk

<p>Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) plays an important role in recognition by the innate immune system of Gram-positive bacteria. As Gram-positive bacteria cause mastitis, we examined variations in the region of the TLR2 gene that codes for the extracellular domain. Samples of forty goats from a single dairy herd were collected, half with low SCC (≤200,000 cells/mL), and half with higher SCC. Two synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified: 840G > A and 1083A > G. One nonsynonymous SNP 739G > A was identified. This coded for valine or isoleucine, which have similar physiochemical properties, and was not in a region coding for a known functional domain. Surprisingly, the least square mean SCC of the heterozygous goats (146,220) was significantly lower than the SCC of homozygous GG goats (537,700; p = 0.004), although these two groups were similar in days in milk (p = 0.984), and there was no significant difference by breed (p = 0.941). Because factors other than mastitis can affect SCC and our sample sizes were limited, additional studies are needed to corroborate an association between TLR2 genotype and SCC or mastitis in goats.</p>