Common promoter deletion is associated with 3.9-fold differential transcription of ovineCCR5and reduced proviral level of ovine progressive pneumonia virus

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SummaryChemokine (C-C motif) Receptor 5 (CCR5) is a chemokine receptor that regulates immune cell recruitment in inflammation and serves as a coreceptor for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A human CCR5 coding deletion (termed delta-32) results in strong resistance to HIV infection, and sequence variants in CCR5 regulatory regions have been implicated in delayed progression to acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Both ovine progressive pneumonia virus (OPPV), also known as maedi-visna, and HIV are macrophage-tropic lentiviruses, have similar genomic structures, and cause lifelong persistent host infection, suggesting CCR5 may have a role in regulating OPPV provirus levels. Therefore, the ovine CCR5 genomic sequence was determined, and sequence variants were obtained from the open reading frame and surrounding regulatory sites. One CCR5 variant contained a 4-base deletion within a binding site for octamer transcription factors in the promoter region. A test for differential transcription from each allele in heterozygous animals showed a 3.9-fold transcription difference (P < 0.0001). OPPV proviral levels were also measured in 351 naturally exposed Rambouillet, Polypay and Columbia sheep. Deletion homozygotes showed reduced OPPV proviral levels among these animals (P < 0.01). The association of this CCR5 promoter deletion with OPPV levels will need to be validated in additional populations before the deletion can be recommended for widespread use in marker-assisted selection. However, because of the large impact on transcription and because CCR5 has roles in inflammation, recruitment of effector cells, and cell-mediated immunity, this deletion may play a role in the control of infections of many diverse pathogens of sheep.

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