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Drögemüller, Michaela; Letko, Anna; Matiasek, Kaspar; Jagannathan, Vidhya; Corlazzoli, Daniele; Rosati, Marco; Jurina, Konrad; Medl, Susanne; Gödde, Thomas; Rupp, Stefan; Fischer, Andrea; Lujan Feliu-Pascual, Alejandro and Drögemüller, Cord (2020): SLC19A3 Loss-of-Function Variant in Yorkshire Terriers With Leigh-Like Subacute Necrotizing Encephalopathy. In: Genes, Vol. 11, No. 10, 1215

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Sporadic occurrence of juvenile-onset necrotizing encephalopathy (SNE) has been previously reported in Yorkshire terriers. However, so far, no causative genetic variant has been found for this breed-specific form of suspected mitochondrial encephalomyopathy. Affected dogs showed gait abnormalities, central visual defects, and/or seizures. Histopathological analysis revealed the presence of major characteristics of human Leigh syndrome and SNE in Alaskan huskies. The aim of this study was to characterize the genetic etiology of SNE-affected purebred Yorkshire terriers. After SNP genotyping and subsequent homozygosity mapping, we identified a single loss-of-function variant by whole-genome sequencing in the canine SLC19A3 gene situated in a 1.7 Mb region of homozygosity on chromosome 25. All ten cases were homozygous carriers of a mutant allele, an indel variant in exon 2, that is predicted to lead to a frameshift and to truncate about 86% of the wild type coding sequence. This study reports a most likely pathogenic variant in SLC19A3 causing a form of SNE in Yorkshire terriers and enables selection against this fatal neurodegenerative recessive disorder. This is the second report of a pathogenic alteration of the SLC19A3 gene in dogs with SNE.

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