Characterization and Mapping of the Gene Conferring Resistance to Rift Valley Fever Virus Hepatic Disease in WF.LEW Rats
Callicott, Ralph J.
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Rift Valley Fever Virus is a plebovirus that causes epidemics and epizootics in sub-Saharan African countries but has expanded to Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. The laboratory rat (Rattus norvegicus) is susceptible to RVFV and has been shown to manifest the characteristic responses of humans and livestock. The rat has frequently been used as a model to study RVFV pathogenesis. Several strains have been infected and some found to be resistant to hepatic disease while others were not. This resistance was found to be associated with a dominant gene inherited in Mendelian fashion. The congenic rat strain WF.LEW and several substrains of the parental strains were used to try and locate the resistance gene. Microsatellites and single nucleotide polymorphisms were used to characterize the genomes of various rat substrains in an attempt to map the gene. Breeding and viral challenge experiments were used to further characterize the strains and assign a location to the resistance gene. The LEW/SsNHsd rats showed approximately 37% genomic difference as compared with LEW/MolTac rats, and 8% difference as compared with LEW/Crl rats. WF/NHsd rats demonstrated a difference of approximately 8% as compared with WF/CrCrl rats. Genotyping of the congenic WF.LEW revealed Lewis markers on RNO3 and RNO9. Subsequent backcross experiments and viral challenge experiments assigned the resistance gene to the distal end of RNO3.