Research Article

Ovine prion protein genotype frequencies in northwestern China

Published: June 21, 2012
Genet. Mol. Res. 11 (2) : 1671-1681 DOI: 10.4238/2012.June.21.2

Abstract

Anti-scrapie breeding programs have been initiated to screen for scrapie-resistant sheep based on ovine prion protein gene (PRNP) genotypes at codons 136, 154 and 171 in many countries, especially European Union member states. However, investigation of sheep PRNP genotypes is limited in China, despite the large number of sheep breeds. We analyzed 432 sheep of five different breeds from farms in northwestern China, using PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis (PCR-SSCP); the corresponding haplotypes of different PRNP alleles were cloned. PRNP allele genotyping was done by amplification refractory mutation system-PCR (ARMS-PCR), according to the haplotype clones of each PRNP allele. The validity of ARMS-PCR was checked by PCR-SSCP. Another 325 unknown PRNP genotypes of other sheep breeds were analyzed according to the established ARMS-PCR. Genotype frequencies of 757 sheep were analyzed with these two methods to evaluate susceptibility to scrapie in northwestern China. Relevant mutations were also detected at other sites. Both methods were effective for ovine PRNP allele genotyping, and the results of the analysis completely coincided. Scrapie-resistant genotypes were found to be uncommon, indicating a high risk for ovine scrapie in northwest China. In addition to codons 136, 154 and 171, we found numerous new mutations; nearly half of them were previously unreported. These sheep populations have a high degree of polymorphism at the PRNP locus.

Anti-scrapie breeding programs have been initiated to screen for scrapie-resistant sheep based on ovine prion protein gene (PRNP) genotypes at codons 136, 154 and 171 in many countries, especially European Union member states. However, investigation of sheep PRNP genotypes is limited in China, despite the large number of sheep breeds. We analyzed 432 sheep of five different breeds from farms in northwestern China, using PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis (PCR-SSCP); the corresponding haplotypes of different PRNP alleles were cloned. PRNP allele genotyping was done by amplification refractory mutation system-PCR (ARMS-PCR), according to the haplotype clones of each PRNP allele. The validity of ARMS-PCR was checked by PCR-SSCP. Another 325 unknown PRNP genotypes of other sheep breeds were analyzed according to the established ARMS-PCR. Genotype frequencies of 757 sheep were analyzed with these two methods to evaluate susceptibility to scrapie in northwestern China. Relevant mutations were also detected at other sites. Both methods were effective for ovine PRNP allele genotyping, and the results of the analysis completely coincided. Scrapie-resistant genotypes were found to be uncommon, indicating a high risk for ovine scrapie in northwest China. In addition to codons 136, 154 and 171, we found numerous new mutations; nearly half of them were previously unreported. These sheep populations have a high degree of polymorphism at the PRNP locus.