Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 2, 2011
Publication Date: August 29, 2011
Citation: Heaton, M.P. 2011. Discovery of a lentivirus susceptibility gene in sheep. Queenstown Molecular Biology 2011 Meeting Abstracts.
Ovine lentivirus targets the host immune system and causes persistent retroviral infections affecting millions of sheep worldwide. In primates, lentivirus resistance is attributed to mutant virus coreceptors that are not expressed. In sheep, some animals are resistant to lentivirus infection despite repeated exposure; however, the mechanism of resistance is unknown. We designed a genome-wide association study to test whether sheep might have gene variants that protect against lentivirus infection. Our results showed that coding mutations in a transmembrane protein gene were associated with infection. Sheep with the ancestral type of this gene were nearly three times more likely to become infected than those with mutant forms. We also discovered three mutant forms predicted to abolish the protein's function. Although the biological function of this gene is unknown, our results indicate that it plays an important role in lentivirus infection in sheep. Producing sheep with the least susceptible form of this gene may help eradicate the ovine disease caused by lentivirus.