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Genetic characteristics and polymorphisms in the chicken interferon-induced transmembrane protein (IFITM3) gene

The interferon-induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3) gene is classified as a small interferon-stimulated gene and is associated with a broad spectrum of antiviral functions against several fatal enveloped viruses, including influenza A viruses (IAVs). The rs12252 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the IFITM3 gene in humans was associated with susceptibility to H1N1 influenza in a 2009 pandemic. In addition, overexpression of the IFITM3 protein potently inhibits the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus in ducks and chickens. Although chickens are a major host of influenza viruses and the IFITM3 gene participates in the host antiviral system, studies on chicken IFITM3 gene are very rare. To investigate the genetic characteristics of the chicken IFITM3 gene, we performed direct sequencing and alignment in 108 Dekalb White and 72 Ross breeds. We also investigated the genotype and haplotype frequencies and linkage disequilibrium of the IFITM3 gene polymorphisms and evaluated whether the non-synonymous SNPs are deleterious. We found significantly different genotype, allele and haplotypes frequencies between two chicken breeds, Dekalb White and Ross. Furthermore, we compared and analyzed the promoter structure of the chicken IFITM3 gene with that of several species. We found that birds have a long C-terminal domain and inverted topology of the IFITM3 protein compared to mammals. We also identified fourteen genetic polymorphisms in the chicken IFITM3 gene. L100 M and N125H were predicted as 'probably damaging' and L100 M can alter the length of its conserved intracellular loop (CIL). Furthermore, chickens, but not mammals, contain CpG islands (CGIs) in this promoter region.

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