Human Expression Variation in the Mu-Opioid Receptor is Paralleled in Rhesus Macaque
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- Vallender, E.J., Priddy, C.M., Chen, G. et al. Behav Genet (2008) 38: 390. doi:10.1007/s10519-008-9207-2
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The mu-opioid receptor is a key component in many neurobiological systems including those affecting perceptions of pain and pleasure. In humans and non-human primate model systems, genetic variation in the receptor has been associated with numerous behavioral and physiological traits. In humans, polymorphisms have been identified which affect not only the biochemical function of the receptor, but also expression level. Existing rhesus macaque variation parallels the functional protein changes seen in human, but it remains unknown if expression level differences or concomitant protein changes may also exist. Here we perform a comprehensive survey of naturally occurring polymorphisms in Indian-origin rhesus macaques and identify three 5′ UTR haplotypes with effects on expression level. These expression level effects are in linkage disequilibrium with the previously identified rhesus coding polymorphism C77G. The C77G polymorphism in rhesus parallels the functional effects of the A118G polymorphism in humans and expression level differences occur within both species. Together, the functional variations reported here have implications for future studies seeking to model the opioid system and its associated phenotypes in rhesus macaques.