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Protein C is a precursor to a serine protease present in the plasma that plays an important physiological role in the regulation of blood coagulation. Mutations in the human protein C gene have been linked to some cases of Morbus Perthes disease, a thrombophilic condition that results in aseptic necrosis of the femur head and neck. We have cloned the canine protein C gene to investigate whether Morbus Perthes disease in dogs is also caused by mutations within this gene. A genomic lambdaFIXII clone was isolated, and 11, 420 bp of DNA sequence were determined containing the complete protein C gene (Acc No. AJ001979). As in humans, the gene consists of nine exons with the translation start codon located in the second exon. The 1.7-kb mRNA contains a 1368-bp open reading frame coding for 456 amino acids. With the genomic protein C clone as a probe in a FISH experiment, the canine protein C gene was assigned to Chromosome (Chr) 19q21-q22. To search for possible mutations, we amplified genomic DNA from one healthy and 15 clinically and pathohistologically confirmed Morbus Perthes patients. Sequence analysis did not reveal any amino acid differences between the affected dogs and the normal control. Several nucleotide polymorphisms were detected, which however, did not result in an amino acid exchange. From these data we conclude that in contrast to human, canine Morbus Perthes disease is most likely not caused by mutations within the protein C gene.