The solute carrier family 26, member 2 (SLC26A2) gene belongs to a family of multifunctional anion exchangers. Mutations in the human SLC26A2 gene are associated with autosomal recessively inherited chondrodysplasias. Hence, we postulate that the equine SLC26A2 could be a candidate gene for conformational traits in horses. An equine BAC clone harboring the SLC26A2 gene was isolated. The complete 142,625 bp insert sequence of this clone was determined by transposon sequencing. Together with the SLC26A2 gene the BAC clone contains four genes, i.e. the macrophage colony stimulating factor 1 receptor precursor (CSF1R), KIAA0194 protein gene similar to the SMF protein (KIAA0194), a tigger transposable element derived 14 (TIGD14), the 3′-5′-cyclic GMP phosphodiesterase alpha-chain (EC and one unidentified open reading frame. The equine SLC26A2 gene encompassing 6,152 bp consists of two exons. The complete open reading frame of 2,211 bp encodes a protein of 736 amino acids. A comparison of the amino acid sequence with other mammalian orthologs revealed homologies with identity in a range between 80% and 88%. By contrast, the equine SLC26A2 protein lacks five C-terminal amino acids. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were identified (three synonymous and one non-synonymous variant Ser210Leu) in the coding region by comparative sequencing of 50 DNA samples representing the German Riding horse. Allele frequencies and distribution were further evaluated in a variety of different breeds: Arabians (for all four SNPs), Old Kladrub Horses, Draught Horses (including Westphalian Draught Horses, Rheinish Westphalian Draught Horses, Saxon-Thuringia Coldbloods, Altmärker Coldbloods), American Saddlebreds, Miniature Horses, Australian Riding Ponies, Appaloosa, Morgan Horses, and Lipizzaner for C629T (Ser210Leu) alone. No animal carrying the homozygous genotype TT has been detected. The overall frequency of the newly described variant T is low (between 2% and 6%). Simulation studies on the protein conformation predict structural protein changes mediated by the SNP.

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