Genetic variability of the PRNP gene in goat breeds from Northern and Southern Italy

Acutis, P.L.; Colussi, S.; Santagada, G.; Laurenza, C.; Maniaci, M.G.; Riina, M.V.; Peletto, S.; Goldmann, W.; Bossers, A.; Caramelli, M.; Cristoferi, I.; Maione, S.; Sacchi, P.; Rasero, R.


Aims: To determine the variability of the prion protein gene (PRNP) in goats from Northern and Southern Italy. Methods and results: Genomic DNA isolated from goat blood was polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified for the coding region of the PRNP gene and then sequenced. In total, 13 polymorphic sites were identified: G37V, T110P, G127S, M137I, I142M, I142T, H143R, R154H, P168Q, T194P, R211Q, Q222K and S240P (substitutions I142T and T194P are novel) giving rise to 14 haplotypes. Clear frequency differences between Northern and Southern breeds were found and confirmed by genetic distance analysis.Conclusions: Differences in allele distribution were found between Northern and Southern goats, in particular regarding the M142 and K222 alleles, possibly associated to scrapie resistance; philogeographical analysis supported the idea that Northern and Southern breeds may be considered as separate clusters. Significance and impact of the study: In Italy only limited studies have been carried out on caprine PRNP genotype distribution; this study is important to fill this lack of information. Moreover the finding of significant differences among allele distributions in Northern and Southern goats, especially if involved in modulating resistance/susceptibility, need to be carefully considered for the feasibility of selection plans for resistance to scrapie.