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Distribution and frequency of VKORC1 sequence variants conferring resistance to anticoagulants in Mus musculus

BACKGROUND: Emerging resistance to anticoagulant rodenticides may significantly impair house mouse (Mus musculus L.) control. As in humans and rats, sequence variants in the gene vitamin K epoxide reductase complex subunit 1 (VKORC1) of house mice are strongly implicated in the responses of mice to anticoagulants. This study gives a first overview of the distribution and frequency of such potentially resistance-conferring sequence variants in house mice, based on tissue samples from 30 populations in Germany, Switzerland and the Azores. RESULTS: Except for one population from south Germany, sequence variants were found in individuals from all locations sampled (29 out of 30 sites surveyed), with less than 10% of the individuals matching the wild-type genotype. The most frequent and widespread amino acid substitutions were Leu128Ser, Tyr139Cys and a group of linked sequence changes (Arg12Trp/Ala26Ser/Ala48Thr/Arg61Leu). Where these substitutions occurred as the sole variant, the proportion of homozygous individuals was 72-83%. CONCLUSIONS: An evaluation of published data revealed that the three most frequently found sequence variants are associated with a substantial loss of rodenticide efficacy of first-generation anticoagulants (e.g. warfarin, coumatetralyl), as well as the second-generation compound bromadiolone and most probably also difenacoum. Knowledge of the distribution and frequency of resistance-conferring sequence variants will stimulate their further functional characterisation and facilitate the choice of effective active substances for house mouse control.


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