Mapping a Major Gene for Resistance to Rift Valley Fever Virus in Laboratory Rats
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The Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV) presents an epidemic and epizootic threat in sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula, and has furthermore recently gained attention as a potential weapon of bioterrorism due to its ability to infect both livestock and humans. Inbred rat strains show similar characteristic responses to the disease as humans and livestock, making them a suitable model species. Previous studies had indicated differences in susceptibility to RVFV hepatic disease among various rat strains, including a higher susceptibility of Wistar-Furth (WF) compared to a more resistant Lewis (LEW) strain. Further study revealed that this resistance trait exhibits the pattern of a major dominant gene inherited in Mendelian fashion. A genome scan of a congenic WF.LEW strain, created from the susceptible WF and resistant LEW strains and itself resistant to infection with RVFV, revealed 2 potential regions for the location of the gene, 1 on chromosome 3 and the other on chromosome 9. Through backcrossing of WF.LEW rats to WF rats, genotyping offspring using SNPs and microsatellites, and viral challenges of 3 N1 litters, we have mapped the gene to the distal end of chromosome 3.
author list (cited authors)
Busch, C. M., Callicott, R. J., Peters, C. J., Morrill, J. C., & Womack, J. E.