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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cloning, mapping and expression analysis of the sheep Wilson disease gene homologue.

Copper homeostasis in mammals is maintained by the balance of dietary intake and copper excretion via the bile. Sheep have a variant copper phenotype and do not efficiently excrete copper by this mechanism, often resulting in excessive copper accumulation in the liver. The Wilson disease protein (ATP7B) is a copper transporting P-type ATPase that is responsible for the efflux of hepatic copper into the bile. To investigate the role of ATP7B in the sheep copper accumulation phenotype, the cDNA encoding the ovine homologue of ATP7B was isolated and sequenced and the gene was localised by fluorescence in situ hybridisation to chromosome 10. The 6.3 kb cDNA encoded a predicted protein of 1444 amino acids which included all of the functional domains characteristic of copper transporting P-type ATPases. ATP7B mRNA was expressed primarily in the liver with lower levels present in the intestine, hypothalamus and ovary. A splice variant of ATP7B mRNA, which was expressed in the liver and comprised approximately 10% of the total ATP7B mRNA pool, also was isolated. The results suggest that ATP7B is produced in the sheep and that the tendency to accumulate copper in the liver is not due to a gross alteration in the structure or expression of ATP7B.[1]


  1. Cloning, mapping and expression analysis of the sheep Wilson disease gene homologue. Lockhart, P.J., Wilcox, S.A., Dahl, H.M., Mercer, J.F. Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2000) [Pubmed]
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