New Insights into the Melanophilin () Gene Affecting Coat Color Dilution in Rabbits.

TitleNew Insights into the Melanophilin () Gene Affecting Coat Color Dilution in Rabbits.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsDemars, J, Iannuccelli, N, Utzeri, VJoe, Auvinet, G, Riquet, J, Fontanesi, L, Allain, D
JournalGenes (Basel)
Date Published2018 Aug 23

Coat color dilution corresponds to a specific pigmentation phenotype that leads to a dilution of wild type pigments. It affects both eumelanin and pheomelanin containing melanosomes. The mode of inheritance of the dilution phenotype is autosomal recessive. Candidate gene approaches focused on the melanophilin () gene highlighted two variants associated with the dilution phenotype in rabbits: The c.111-5C>A variant that is located in an acceptor splice site or the c.585delG variant, a frameshift mutation. On the transcript level, the skipping of two exons has been reported as the molecular mechanism responsible for the coat color dilution. To clarify, which of the two variants represents the causal variant, (i) we analyzed their allelic segregation by genotyping Castor and Chinchilla populations, and (ii) we evaluated their functional effects on the stability of transcripts in skin samples of animals with diluted or wild type coat color. Firstly, we showed that the c.585delG variant showed perfect association with the dilution phenotype in contrast to the intronic c.111-5C>A variant. Secondly, we identified three different isoforms including the wild type isoform, the exon-skipping isoform and a retained intron isoform. Thirdly, we observed a drastic and significant decrease of transcript levels in rabbits with a coat color dilution (-values ranging from 10 to 10). Together, our results bring new insights into the coat color dilution trait.

Alternate JournalGenes (Basel)
PubMed ID30142960
PubMed Central IDPMC6162760