The implication that host cellular prion protein (PrPC) may function as a cell surface receptor and/or portal protein for Brucella abortus in mice prompted an evaluation of nucleotide and amino acid variation within exon 3 of the prion protein gene (PRNP) for six US bison populations. A non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (T50C), resulting in the predicted amino acid replacement M17T (Met ??? Thr), was identified in each population. To date, no variation (T50: Met) has been detected at the corresponding exon 3 nucleotide and/or amino acid position for domestic cattle. Notably, 80% (20 of 25) of the Yellowstone National Park bison possessing the C/C genotype were Brucella spp. seropositive, representing a significant (P = 0.021) association between seropositivity and the C/C genotypic class. Moreover, significant differences in the distribution of PRNP exon 3 alleles and genotypes were detected between Yellowstone National Park bison and three bison populations that were either founded from seronegative stock or previously subjected to test-and-slaughter management to eradicate brucellosis. Unlike domestic cattle, no indel polymorphisms were detected within the corresponding regions of the putative bison PRNP promoter, intron 1, octapeptide repeat region or 3???-untranslated region for any population examined. This study provides the first evidence of a potential association between nucleotide variation within PRNP exon 3 and the presence of Brucella spp. antibodies in bison, implicating PrPC in the natural resistance of bison to brucellosis infection. ?? 2005 International Society for Animal Genetics.
Additional publication details
Bison PRNP genotyping and potential association with Brucella spp. seroprevalence