Quantitative effects of an intronic retroviral insertion on the transcription of the tyrosinase gene in recessive white chickens

C. M. Chang*, J. P. Furet, J. L. Coville, G. Coquerelle, D. Gourichon, M. Tixier-Boichard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

19 Scopus citations


Recently, we reported the complete association of a retroviral insertion in intron 4 of the tyrosinase gene and the recessive white mutation (c) in chickens. The mutant allele carrying the retroviral insertion produced, in skin samples of 10-week-old chickens, aberrant tyrosinase transcripts that did not contain exon 5. In the present study, we performed serial molecular and statistical analyses on embryos and 10-week-old chickens to characterize the quantitative effect of the retroviral insertion on the expression pattern of tyrosinase in different tissues (skin and retina). By using quantitative real-time RT-PCR, we observed that the expression level of tyrosinase was significantly lower in recessive white chickens than in wild-type coloured chickens, but that this pattern was age- and tissue-dependent. The differential expression in skin was not significant in embryos, whereas it was highly significant in 10-week-old chickens. Furthermore, there was no difference in the expression of tyrosinase in the retinal pigment epithelium of animals with different genotypes; this corresponds to phenotypic data, which show pigmented eyes in both genotypes. These findings show that the retroviral insertion disturbs tyrosinase expression in the recessive white mutant chickens, and suggests that the regulation of tyrosinase expression in chickens differs between embryos and growing animals, as well as between skin and retina.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-167
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 04 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Chicken C locus
  • Relative quantitative real-time RT-PCR
  • Retroviral insertion
  • Tyrosinase


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