Endothelin receptor B polymorphism associated with Lethal White Foal Syndrome in horses
Overo lethal white syndrome (OLWS) is an inherited syndrome of foals born to American Paint Horse parents of the overo coat-pattern lineage. Affected foals are totally or almost totally white and die within days from complications due to intestinal aganglionosis. Related conditions occur in humans and rodents in which mutations in the endothelin receptor B (EDNRB) gene are responsible. EDNRB is known to be involved in the developmental regulation of neural crest cells that become enteric ganglia and melanocytes. In this report we identify a polymorphism in the equine EDNRB gene closely associated with OLWS. This Ile to Lys substitution at codon 118 is located within the first transmembrane domain of this seven-transmembrane domain G-protein-coupled receptor protein. All 22 OLWS-affected foals examined were homozygous for the Lys118 EDNRB allele, while all available parents of affected foals were heterozygous. All but one of the parents also had an overo white body-spot phenotype. Solid-colored control horses of other breeds were homozygous for the Ile118 EDNRB allele. Molecular definition of the basis for OLWS in Paint Horses provides a genetic test for the presence of the Lys118 EDNRB allele and adds to our understanding of the basis for coat color patterns in the horse.
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