Hereditary forms of copper toxicosis exist in man and dogs. In man, Wilson’s disease is the best studied disorder of copper overload, resulting from mutations in the gene coding for the copper transporter ATP7B. Forms of copper toxicosis for which no causal gene is known yet are recognized as well, often in young children. Although advances have been made in unraveling the genetic background of disorders of copper metabolism in man, many questions regarding disease mechanisms and copper homeostasis remain unanswered. Genetic studies in the Bedlington terrier, a dog breed affected with copper toxicosis, identified COMMD1, a gene that was previously unknown to be involved in copper metabolism. Besides the Bedlington terrier, a number of other dog breeds suffer from hereditary copper toxicosis and show similar phenotypes to humans with copper storage disorders. Unlike the heterogeneity of most human populations, the genetic structure within a purebred dog population is homogeneous, which is advantageous for unraveling the molecular genetics of complex diseases. This article reviews the work that has been done on the Bedlington terrier, summarizes what was learned from studies into COMMD1 function, describes hereditary copper toxicosis phenotypes in other dog breeds, and discusses the opportunities for genome-wide association studies on copper toxicosis in the dog to contribute to the understanding of mammalian copper metabolism and copper metabolism disorders in man.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 7, 2011
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