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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Virus and Prion Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #224736

Title: Frequencies of polymorphisms associated with BSE resistance differ significantly between Bos taurus, Bos indicus, and composite cattle

item Brunelle, Brian
item Greenlee, Justin
item Nicholson, Eric

Submitted to: BioMed Central (BMC) Veterinary Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/22/2008
Publication Date: 8/22/2008
Citation: Brunelle, B.W., Greenlee, J.J., Seabury, C.M., Brown II, C.E., Nicholson, E.M. 2008. Frequencies of Polymorphisms Associated with BSE Resistance Differ Significantly Between Bos taurus, Bos indicus, and Composite Cattle. BioMed Central (BMC) Veterinary Research. 4(1):36. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a neurodegenerative prion disease of cattle. There are three host factors related to the host prion protein known to influence susceptibility or resistance to BSE: single amino acid changes in the prion protein, repeat regions within the prion protein, and expression levels of the prion protein. These factors have been well documented in breeds of Bos taurus cattle, but there is little-to-no data on these factors in Bos indicus purebred or Bos indicus x Bos taurus crossbred cattle. Since Bos indicus cattle contribute to the U.S. cattle population, we wanted to determine the frequency of the host factors associated with BSE susceptibility. We studied 58 Bos indicus purebred and 38 Bos indicus x Bos taurus crossbred cattle. The only differences between Bos indicus and Bos taurus cattle were in two factors associated with prion protein expression levels. It was observed that Bos indicus cattle had a much higher frequency of one factor associated with resistance to BSE compared to Bos taurus cattle, while the second factor associated with resistance to BSE was much lower in Bos indicus cattle compared to Bos taurus cattle. This data is useful in determining the relative risk of BSE in Bos indicus cattle based upon these factors.

Technical Abstract: Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are neurodegenerative diseases that affect several mammalian species. At least three factors related to the host prion protein are known to modulate susceptibility or resistance to a TSE: amino acid sequence, atypical number of octapeptide repeats, and expression level. These factors have been extensively studied in breeds of Bos taurus cattle in relation to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). However, little is currently known about these factors in Bos indicus purebred or B. indicus x B. taurus crossbred cattle. The goal of our study was to establish the frequency of markers associated with enhanced susceptibility or resistance to BSE in B. indicus purebred and crossbred cattle.