Intronic variant in POU1F1 associated with canine pituitary dwarfism

Hum Genet. 2021 Nov;140(11):1553-1562. doi: 10.1007/s00439-021-02259-2. Epub 2021 Feb 6.


The anterior pituitary gland secretes several endocrine hormones, essential for growth, reproduction and other basic physiological functions. Abnormal development or function of the pituitary gland leads to isolated or combined pituitary hormone deficiency (CPHD). At least 30 genes have been associated with human CPHD, including many transcription factors, such as POU1F1. CPHD occurs spontaneously also in mice and dogs. Two affected breeds have been reported in dogs: German Shepherds with a splice defect in the LHX3 gene and Karelian Bear Dogs (KBD) with an unknown genetic cause. We obtained samples from five KBDs presenting dwarfism and abnormal coats. A combined analysis of genome-wide association and next-generation sequencing mapped the disease to a region in chromosome 31 and identified a homozygous intronic variant in the fourth exon of the POU1F1 gene in the affected dogs. The identified variant, c.605-3C>A, resided in the splice region and was predicted to affect splicing. The variant's screening in three new prospective cases, related breeds, and ~ 8000 dogs from 207 breeds indicated complete segregation in KBDs with a carrier frequency of 8%, and high breed-specificity as carriers were found at a low frequency only in Lapponian Herders, a related breed. Our study establishes a novel canine model for CPHD with a candidate POU1F1 defect.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Dog Diseases / genetics*
  • Dogs
  • Dwarfism, Pituitary / genetics
  • Dwarfism, Pituitary / veterinary*
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Heterozygote
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Homozygote
  • Hypopituitarism / genetics*
  • Introns
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Pedigree
  • RNA Splicing
  • Transcription Factor Pit-1 / genetics*
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • Transcription Factor Pit-1

Supplementary concepts

  • Combined Pituitary Hormone Deficiency