Not all SCID pigs are created equally: Two independent mutations in the artemis gene cause SCID in pigs

Emily H. Waide, Jack C.M. Dekkers, Jason W. Ross, Raymond R.R. Rowland, Carol R. Wyatt, Catherine L. Ewen, Alyssa B. Evans, Dinesh M. Thekkoot, Nicholas J. Boddicker, Nick V.L. Serão, N. Matthew Ellinwood, Christopher K. Tuggle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mutations in >30 genes are known to result in impairment of the adaptive immune system, causing a group of disorders collectively known as SCID. SCID disorders are split into groups based on their presence and/or functionality of B, T, and NK cells. Piglets from a line of Yorkshire pigs at Iowa State University were shown to be affected by T-B-NK+ SCID, representing, to our knowledge, the first example of naturally occurring SCID in pigs. In this study, we present evidence for two spontaneous mutations as the molecular basis for this SCID phenotype. Flow cytometry analysis of thymocytes showed an increased frequency of immature T cells in SCID pigs. Fibroblasts from these pigs were more sensitive to ionizing radiation than non-SCID piglets, eliminating the RAG1 and RAG2 genes. Genetic and molecular analyses showed that two mutations were present in the Artemis gene, which in the homozygous or compound heterozygous state cause the immunodeficient phenotype. Rescue of SCID fibroblast radiosensitivity by human Artemis protein demonstrated that the identified Artemis mutations are the direct cause of this cellular phenotype. The work presented in the present study reveals two mutations in the Artemis gene that cause T2B2NK+ SCID in pigs. The SCID pig can be an important biomedical model, but these mutations would be undesirable in commercial pig populations. The identified mutations and associated genetic tests can be used to address both of these issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3171-3179
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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