Biology Faculty Articles

Title

Specifying and Sustaining Pigmentation Patterns in Domestic and Wild Cats

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-21-2012

Publication Title

Science

ISSN

0036-8075

Volume

337

Issue/No.

6101

First Page

1536

Last Page

1541

Abstract

Color markings among felid species display both a remarkable diversity and a common underlying periodicity. A similar range of patterns in domestic cats suggests a conserved mechanism whose appearance can be altered by selection. We identified the gene responsible for tabby pattern variation in domestic cats as Transmembrane aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep), which encodes a membrane-bound metalloprotease. Analyzing 31 other felid species, we identified Taqpep as the cause of the rare king cheetah phenotype, in which spots coalesce into blotches and stripes. Histologic, genomic expression, and transgenic mouse studies indicate that paracrine expression ofEndothelin3 (Edn3) coordinates localized color differences. We propose a two-stage model in which Taqpep helps to establish a periodic pre-pattern during skin development that is later implemented by differential expression of Edn3.

Additional Comments

National Cancer Institute contract #: N01-CO-12400

ORCID ID

0000-0001-7353-8301

ResearcherID

N-1726-2015

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