Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Protein coding regions of the PrPC gene in 51 pigs belonging to 3 breeds namely Hampshire, Yorkshire, Blue Butt Cross (blue spotted cross from a Hampshire X Yorkshire), and a wild pig were studied. These breeds are used nationwide for commercial purposes. The PrPC gene of the pigs that code for prion proteins were sequenced and studied. Deletions of the octapeptide (WGQPHGGG) were observed in 13 samples that belongs to the crossbreed Dark Cross sow 71 by Blue Butt Boar (Gummy bear). This hydrophobic repeat has been used in experiments as a model to investigate neurodegeneration in prion diseases. Also, it was used as vaccine where the octapeptide sequence was administered in a liposomal bilayer and when administered to an animal, the vaccine elicited a local or systemic, immunogen-specific immune response against amyloid proteins, peptides or fragments. In previous studies, prion proteins commonly have five or six repeats, while in this study, four octarepeats were obtained in all samples except the few that contained only three octarepeats. The presence of the octapeptide is said to be correlated with increased susceptibility of prion disease. If this is the case, these individuals may be less susceptible to prion disease as compared to other breeds. Still, research needs to be done to confirm this. Those sequences were then compared with the PrPC genes of other mammals. Based on these sequences, a phylogenetic tree was constructed. Also, the gender of the pigs does not seem to play role in whether the octapeptide deletion occurs.


Dr. Eric Gillock

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type



© The Author(s)


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