Mining the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Consortium database implicates genes and variants for the Ticked locus in domestic cats (Felis catus).
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1111/age.13059
Tabby patterns of fur coats are defining characteristics in wild and domestic felids. Historically, three autosomal alleles at one locus (Tabby): Abyssinian (Ta ; a.k.a. ticked), mackerel (Tm ; a.k.a. striped) and blotched (tb ; a.k.a. classic, blotched) were thought to control these patterns in domestic cats and their breeds. Currently, at least three loci influence cat tabby markings, two of which are designated Tabby and Ticked. The Tabby locus is laeverin (LVRN) and affects the mackerel and blotched patterns. The unidentified gene for the Ticked locus on cat chromosome B1 was suggested to control the presence or absence of the ticked pattern (Tabby - Abyssinian (Ta ; a.k.a. ticked). The cat reference genome (Cinnamon, the Abyssinian) has the ticked phenotype and the variant dataset and coat phenotypes from the 99 Lives Cat Genome Consortium (195 cats) were used to identify candidate genes and variants associated with the Ticked locus. Two strategies were used to find the Ticked allele(s), one considered Cinnamon with the reference allele or heterozygous (Strategy A) and the other considered Cinnamon as having the variant allele or heterozygous (Strategy B). For Strategy A, two variants in Dickkopf Wnt Signaling Pathway Inhibitor 4 (DKK4), a p.Cys63Tyr (B1:41621481, c.188G>A) and a less common p.Ala18Val (B1:42620835, c.53C>T) variant are suggested as two alleles influencing the Ticked phenotype. Bioinformatic and molecular modeling analysis suggests that these changes disrupt a key disulfide bond in the Dkk4 cysteine-rich domain 1 or Dkk4 signal peptide cleavage respectively. All coding variants were excluded as Ticked alleles using Strategy B.