Brown coat color phenotypes caused by mutations in tyrosinase-related protein-1 (TYRP1) are recognized in many mammals. Brown variations are also recognized in the domestic cat, but the causative mutations are unknown. In cats, Brown, B, has a suggested allelic series, B > b > b l. The B allele is normal wild-type black coloration. Cats with the brown variation genotypes, bb or bb l, are supposedly phenotypically chocolate (aka chestnut) and the light brown genotype, b lbl, are supposedly phenotypically cinnamon (aka red). The complete coding sequence of feline TYRP1 and a portion of the 5′ UTR was analyzed by direct sequencing of genomic DNA of wild-type and brown color variant cats. Sixteen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified. Eight SNPs were in the coding regions, six are silent mutations. Two exon 2 on mutations cause amino acid changes. The C to T nonsense mutation at position 298 causes an arginine at amino acid 100 to be replaced by the opal (UGA) stop codon. This mutation is consistent with the cinnamon phenotype and is the putative light brown, b l, mutation. An intron 6 mutation that potentially disrupts the exon 6 downstream splice-donor recognition site is associated with the chocolate phenotype and is the putative brown, b, mutation. The allelic series was confirmed by segregation and sequence analyses. Three microsatellite makers had significant linkage to the brown phenotype and two for the TYRP1 mutations in a 60-member pedigree. These mutations could be used to identify carriers of brown phenotypes in the domestic cat.
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