Hereditary canine spinal muscular atrophy is phenotypically similar but molecularly distinct from human spinal muscular atrophy

J Hered. 1998 Nov-Dec;89(6):531-7. doi: 10.1093/jhered/89.6.531.


Hereditary canine spinal muscular atrophy (HCSMA) is an autosomal dominant motor neuron disease that is similar in pathology and clinical presentation to various forms of human motor neuron disease. We have tested the hypothesis that the canine survival motor neuron (SMN) gene is responsible for HCSMA by genetic and molecular analysis of a colony of mixed breed dogs, all descended from a single affected individual. We cloned the canine SMN gene and determined the DNA sequence in an affected and an unaffected dog. We found no germline mutations in the SMN gene of the affected individual. Using conventional linkage analysis with canine-specific microsatellite repeat markers we screened the canine genome and identified a single linkage group likely to contain the HCSMA gene. Analysis with a panel of canine/rodent hybrid cell lines revealed that the SMN gene did not map to the same chromosome as the HCSMA linkage group. Collectively these results suggest that the molecular basis for HCSMA is distinct from that of phenotypically similar human disorders caused by inherited mutations in the SMN gene. This further suggests that additional studies on the molecular nature of HCSMA may reveal an unknown element of the molecular pathway leading to motor neuron disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • DNA Primers
  • Dog Diseases / genetics*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / genetics
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / veterinary*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Pedigree
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • SMN Complex Proteins
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • DNA Primers
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • SMN Complex Proteins