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Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) IIIB (Sanfilippo syndrome B; OMIM 252920), is a lysosomal storage disease with progressive neurological signs caused by deficient activity of alpha-N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAGLU, EC Herein we report the causative variant in the NAGLU gene in Schipperke dogs and a genotyping survey in the breed. All six exons and adjacent regions of the NAGLU gene were sequenced from six healthy appearing and three affected Schipperkes. DNA fragment length and TaqMan assays were used to genotype privately owned Schipperkes. A single variant was found in exon 6 of MPS IIIB affected Schipperkes: an insertion consisting of a 40-70 bp poly-A and an 11 bp duplication of the exonic region preceding the poly-A (XM_548088.6:c.2110_2111ins[A(40_70);2100_2110]) is predicted to insert a stretch of 13 or more lysines followed by either an in-frame insertion of a repeat of the four amino acids preceding the lysines, or a frameshift. The clinically affected Schipperkes were homozygous for this insertion, and the sequenced healthy dogs were either heterozygous or homozygous for the wild-type allele. From 2003-2019, 3219 Schipperkes were genotyped. Of these, 1.5% were homozygous for this insertion and found to be clinically affected, and 23.6% were heterozygous for the insertion and were clinically healthy, the remaining 74.9% were homozygous for the wild-type and were also clinically healthy. The number of dogs homozygous and heterozygous for the insertion declined rapidly after the initial years of genotyping, documenting the benefit of a DNA screening program in a breed with a small gene pool. In conclusion, a causative NAGLU variant in Schipperke dogs with MPS IIIB was identified and was found at high frequency in the breed. Through genotyping and informed breeding practices, the prevalence of canine MPS IIIB has been drastically reduced in the Schipperke population worldwide.


Karthik Raj, N Matthew Ellinwood, Urs Giger. An exonic insertion in the NAGLU gene causing Mucopolysaccharidosis IIIB in Schipperke dogs. Scientific reports. 2020 Feb 21;10(1):3170

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PMID: 32081995

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