Hypertension is a complex trait that has been studied extensively for genetic contributions of the nuclear genome. We examined mitochondrial genomes of the hypertensive strains: the Dahl Salt-Sensitive (S) rat, the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat (SHR), and the Albino Surgery (AS) rat, and the relatively normotensive strains: the Dahl Salt-Resistant (R) rat, the Milan Normotensive Strain (MNS), and the Lewis rat (LEW). These strains were used previously for linkage analysis for blood pressure (BP) in our laboratory. The results provide evidence to suggest that variations in the mitochondrial genome do not account for observed differences in blood pressure between the S and R rats. However, variants were detected among the mitochondrial genomes of the various hypertensive strains, S, SHR, and AS, and also among the normotensive strains R, MNS, and LEW. A total of 115, 114, 106, 106, and 16 variations in mtDNA were observed between the comparisons S versus LEW, S versus MNS, S versus SHR, S versus AS, and SHR versus AS, respectively. Among the 13 genes coding for proteins of the electron transport chain, 8 genes had nonsynonymous variations between S, LEW, MNS, SHR, and AS. The lack of any sequence variants between the mitochondrial genomes of S and R rats provides conclusive evidence that divergence in blood pressure between these two inbred strains is exclusively programmed through their nuclear genomes. The variations detected among the various hypertensive strains provides the basis to construct conplastic strains and further evaluate the effects of these variants on hypertension and associated phenotypes.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: May 5, 2010
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