Global liver gene expression differences in Nelore steers with divergent residual feed intake phenotypes.
ABSTRACT: Efficiency of feed utilization is important for animal production because it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve industry profitability. However, the genetic basis of feed utilization in livestock remains poorly understood. Recent developments in molecular genetics, such as platforms for genome-wide genotyping and sequencing, provide an opportunity to identify genes and pathways that influence production traits. It is known that transcriptional networks influence feed efficiency-related traits such as growth and energy balance. This study sought to identify differentially expressed genes in animals genetically divergent for Residual Feed Intake (RFI), using RNA sequencing methodology (RNA-seq) to obtain information from genome-wide expression profiles in the liver tissues of Nelore cattle.Differential gene expression analysis between high Residual Feed Intake (HRFI, inefficient) and low Residual Feed Intake (LRFI, efficient) groups was performed to provide insights into the molecular mechanisms that underlie feed efficiency-related traits in beef cattle. A total of 112 annotated genes were identified as being differentially expressed between animals with divergent RFI phenotypes. These genes are involved in ion transport and metal ion binding; act as membrane or transmembrane proteins; and belong to gene clusters that are likely related to the transport and catalysis of molecules through the cell membrane and essential mechanisms of nutrient absorption. Genes with functions in cellular signaling, growth and proliferation, cell death and survival were also differentially expressed. Among the over-represented pathways were drug or xenobiotic metabolism, complement and coagulation cascades, NRF2-mediated oxidative stress, melatonin degradation and glutathione metabolism.Our data provide new insights and perspectives on the genetic basis of feed efficiency in cattle. Some previously identified mechanisms were supported and new pathways controlling feed efficiency in Nelore cattle were discovered. We potentially identified genes and pathways that play key roles in hepatic metabolic adaptations to oxidative stress such as those involved in antioxidant mechanisms. These results improve our understanding of the metabolic mechanisms underlying feed efficiency in beef cattle and will help develop strategies for selection towards the desired phenotype.
Project description:Residual Feed Intake (RFI) is an economically relevant trait in beef cattle. Among the molecular regulatory mechanisms, microRNAs (miRNAs) are an important dimension in post-transcriptional regulation and have been associated with different biological pathways. Here, we performed differential miRNAs expression and weighted gene co-expression network analyses (WGCNA) to better understand the complex interactions between miRNAs and mRNAs expressed in bovine skeletal muscle and liver. MiRNA and mRNA expression data were obtained from Nelore steers that were genetically divergent for RFI (N?=?10 [low RFI or feed efficient]; N?=?10 [high RFI or feed inefficient]). Differentially expressed and hub miRNAs such as bta-miR-486, bta-miR-7, bta-miR15a, bta-miR-21, bta-miR 29, bta- miR-30b, bta-miR-106b, bta-miR-199a-3p, bta-miR-204, and bta-miR 296 may have a potential role in variation of RFI. Functional enrichment analysis of differentially expressed (DE) miRNA's target genes and miRNA-mRNA correlated modules revealed that insulin, lipid, immune system, oxidative stress and muscle development signaling pathways might potentially be involved in RFI in this population. Our study identified DE miRNAs, miRNA - mRNA regulatory networks and hub miRNAs related to RFI. These findings suggest a possible role of miRNAs in regulation of RFI, providing new insights into the potential molecular mechanisms that control feed efficiency in Nelore cattle.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Feed efficiency is jointly determined by productivity and feed requirements, both of which are economically relevant traits in beef cattle production systems. The objective of this study was to identify genes/QTLs associated with components of feed efficiency in Nelore cattle using Illumina BovineHD BeadChip (770 k SNP) genotypes from 593 Nelore steers. The traits analyzed included: average daily gain (ADG), dry matter intake (DMI), feed-conversion ratio (FCR), feed efficiency (FE), residual feed intake (RFI), maintenance efficiency (ME), efficiency of gain (EG), partial efficiency of growth (PEG) and relative growth rate (RGR). The Bayes B analysis was completed with Gensel software parameterized to fit fewer markers than animals. Genomic windows containing all the SNP loci in each 1 Mb that accounted for more than 1.0% of genetic variance were considered as QTL region. Candidate genes within windows that explained more than 1% of genetic variance were selected by putative function based on DAVID and Gene Ontology. RESULTS: Thirty-six QTL (1-Mb SNP window) were identified on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25 and 26 (UMD 3.1). The amount of genetic variance explained by individual QTL windows for feed efficiency traits ranged from 0.5% to 9.07%. Some of these QTL minimally overlapped with previously reported feed efficiency QTL for Bos taurus. The QTL regions described in this study harbor genes with biological functions related to metabolic processes, lipid and protein metabolism, generation of energy and growth. Among the positional candidate genes selected for feed efficiency are: HRH4, ALDH7A1, APOA2, LIN7C, CXADR, ADAM12 and MAP7. CONCLUSIONS: Some genomic regions and some positional candidate genes reported in this study have not been previously reported for feed efficiency traits in Bos indicus. Comparison with published results indicates that different QTLs and genes may be involved in the control of feed efficiency traits in this Nelore cattle population, as compared to Bos taurus cattle.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Feed efficiency is one of the most important parameters that affect beef production costs. The energy metabolism of skeletal muscle greatly contributes to variations in feed efficiency. However, information regarding differences in proteins involved in the energy metabolism of the skeletal muscle in beef cattle divergently identified for feed efficiency is scarce. In this study, we aimed to investigate energy metabolism of skeletal muscle of Nellore beef cattle, identified for low and high residual feed intake using a proteomics approach. We further assessed the expression of candidate microRNAs as a one of the possible mechanisms controlling the biosynthesis of the proteins involved in energy metabolism that were differentially abundant between high and low residual feed intake animals. RESULTS:A greater abundance of 14-3-3 protein epsilon (P?=?0.01) was observed in skeletal muscle of residual feed intake (RFI) high animals (RFI-High). Conversely, a greater abundance of Heat Shock Protein Beta 1 (P?<?0.01) was observed in the skeletal muscle of RFI-Low cattle. A greater mRNA expression of YWHAE, which encodes the 14-3-3 protein epsilon, was also observed in the skeletal muscle of RFI-High animals (P?=?0.01). A lower mRNA expression of HSPB1, which encodes the Heat Shock Protein Beta 1, was observed in the skeletal muscle of RFI-High animals (P?=?0.01). The miR-665 was identified as a potential regulator of the 14-3-3 protein epsilon, and its expression was greater in RFI-Low animals (P?<?.001). A greater expression of miR-34a (P?=?0.01) and miR-2899 (P?<?.001) was observed in the skeletal muscle of RFI-High animals, as both miRNAs were identified as potential regulators of HSPB1 expression. CONCLUSION:Our results show that Nellore cattle divergently identified for feed efficiency by RFI present changes in the abundance of proteins involved in energy expenditure in skeletal muscle. Moreover, our data point towards that miR-665, miR34a and miR-2899 are likely involved in controlling both 14-3-3 epsilon and HSPB1 proteins identified as differentially abundant in the skeletal muscle of RFI-High and RFI-Low Nellore cattle.
Project description:Residual feed intake (RFI), a measure of feed efficiency, is an important economic and environmental trait in beef production. Selection of low RFI (feed efficient) cattle could maintain levels of production, while decreasing feed costs and methane emissions. However, RFI is a difficult and expensive trait to measure. Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with RFI may enable rapid, cost effective genomic selection of feed efficient cattle. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were conducted in multiple breeds followed by meta-analysis to identify genetic variants associated with RFI and component traits (average daily gain (ADG) and feed intake (FI)) in Irish beef cattle (n?=?1492). Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis was conducted to identify functional effects of GWAS-identified variants. Twenty-four SNPs were associated (P?<?5?×?10-5) with RFI, ADG or FI. The variant rs43555985 exhibited strongest association for RFI (P?=?8.28E-06). An eQTL was identified between this variant and GFRA2 (P?=?0.0038) where the allele negatively correlated with RFI was associated with increased GFRA2 expression in liver. GFRA2 influences basal metabolic rates, suggesting a mechanism by which genetic variation may contribute to RFI. This study identified SNPs that may be useful both for genomic selection of RFI and for understanding the biology of feed efficiency.
Project description:The biological mechanisms associated with the residual feed intake in ruminants have been harnessed immensely via transcriptome analysis of liver and ruminal epithelium, however, this concept has not been fully explored using whole blood. We applied whole blood transcriptome analysis and gene set enrichment analysis to identify key pathways associated with divergent selection for low or high RFI in beef cattle. A group of 56 crossbred beef steers (average BW = 261.3 ± 18.5 kg) were adapted to a high-forage total mixed ration in a confinement dry lot equipped with GrowSafe intake nodes for period of 49 d to determine their residual feed intake (RFI). After RFI determination, weekly whole blood samples were collected three times from beef steers with the lowest RFI (most efficient; low-RFI; n = 8) and highest RFI (least efficient; high-RFI; n = 8). Prior to RNA extraction, whole blood samples collected were composited for each steer. Sequencing was performed on an Illumina NextSeq2000 equipped with a P3 flow. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was used to analyze differentially expressed gene sets and pathways between the two groups of steers. Results of GSEA revealed pathways associated with metabolism of proteins, cellular responses to external stimuli, stress, and heat stress were differentially inhibited (false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05) in high-RFI compared to low-RFI beef cattle, while pathways associated with binding and uptake of ligands by scavenger receptors, scavenging of heme from plasma, and erythrocytes release/take up oxygen were differentially enriched (FDR < 0.05) in high-RFI, relative to low-RFI beef cattle. Taken together, our results revealed that beef steers divergently selected for low or high RFI revealed differential expressions of genes related to protein metabolism and stress responsiveness. Overall design: Whole blood mRNA expression profilig of 8 high residual food intake (RFI) beef cattle versus 8 low RFI beef cattle.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4> Feed efficiency is one of the key determinants of beef industry profitability and sustainability. However, the cellular and molecular background behind feed efficiency is largely unknown. This study combines imputed whole genome DNA variants and 31 plasma metabolites to dissect genes and biological functions/processes that are associated with residual feed intake (RFI) and its component traits including daily dry matter intake (DMI), average daily gain (ADG), and metabolic body weight (MWT) in beef cattle. <h4>Results</h4> Regression analyses between feed efficiency traits and plasma metabolites in a population of 493 crossbred beef cattle identified 5 (L-valine, lysine, L-tyrosine, L-isoleucine, and L-leucine), 4 (lysine, L-lactic acid, L-tyrosine, and choline), 1 (citric acid), and 4 (L-glutamine, glycine, citric acid, and dimethyl sulfone) plasma metabolites associated with RFI, DMI, ADG, and MWT (P-value < 0.1), respectively. Combining the results of metabolome-genome wide association studies using 10,488,742 imputed SNPs, 40, 66, 15, and 40 unique candidate genes were identified as associated with RFI, DMI, ADG, and MWT (P-value < 1 × 10−5), respectively. These candidate genes were found to be involved in some key metabolic processes including metabolism of lipids, molecular transportation, cellular function and maintenance, cell morphology and biochemistry of small molecules. <h4>Conclusions</h4> This study identified metabolites, candidate genes and enriched biological functions/processes associated with RFI and its component traits through the integrative analyses of metabolites with phenotypic traits and DNA variants. Our findings could enhance the understanding of biochemical mechanisms of feed efficiency traits and could lead to improvement of genomic prediction accuracy via incorporating metabolite data. <h4>Supplementary Information</h4> The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12864-021-08064-5.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Feed intake plays an important economic role in beef cattle, and is related with feed efficiency, weight gain and carcass traits. However, the phenotypes collected for dry matter intake and feed efficiency are scarce when compared with other measures such as weight gain and carcass traits. The use of genomic information can improve the power of inference of studies on these measures, identifying genomic regions that affect these phenotypes. This work performed the genome-wide association study (GWAS) for dry matter intake (DMI) and residual feed intake (RFI) of 720 Nellore cattle (Bos taurus indicus).<h4>Results</h4>In general, no genomic region extremely associated with both phenotypic traits was observed, as expected for the variables that have their regulation controlled by many genes. Three SNPs surpassed the threshold for the Bonferroni multiple test for DMI and two SNPs for RFI. These markers are located on chromosomes 4, 8, 14 and 21 in regions near genes regulating appetite and ion transport and close to important QTL as previously reported to RFI and DMI, thus corroborating the literature that points these two processes as important in the physiological regulation of intake and feed efficiency.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study showed the first GWAS of DMI to identify genomic regions associated with feed intake and efficiency in Nellore cattle. Some genes and QTLs previously described for DMI and RFI, in other subspecies (Bos taurus taurus), that influences these phenotypes are confirmed in this study.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Feed efficiency is an important economic and environmental trait in beef production, which can be measured in terms of residual feed intake (RFI). Cattle selected for low-RFI (feed efficient) have similar production levels but decreased feed intake, while also emitting less methane. RFI is difficult and expensive to measure and is not widely adopted in beef production systems. However, development of DNA-based biomarkers for RFI may facilitate its adoption in genomic-assisted breeding programmes. Cattle have been shown to re-rank in terms of RFI across diets and age, while also RFI varies by breed. Therefore, we used RNA-Seq technology to investigate the hepatic transcriptome of RFI-divergent Charolais (CH) and Holstein-Friesian (HF) steers across three dietary phases to identify genes and biological pathways associated with RFI regardless of diet or breed. RESULTS:Residual feed intake was measured during a high-concentrate phase, a zero-grazed grass phase and a final high-concentrate phase. In total, 322 and 33 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified across all diets for CH and HF steers, respectively. Three genes, GADD45G, HP and MID1IP1, were differentially expressed in CH when both the high-concentrate zero-grazed grass diet were offered. Two canonical pathways were enriched across all diets for CH steers. These canonical pathways were related to immune function. CONCLUSIONS:The absence of common differentially expressed genes across all dietary phases and breeds in this study supports previous reports of the re-ranking of animals in terms of RFI when offered differing diets over their lifetime. However, we have identified biological processes such as the immune response and lipid metabolism as potentially associated with RFI divergence emphasising the previously reported roles of these biological processes with respect to RFI.
Project description:The selection of cattle with enhanced feed efficiency is of importance with regard to reducing feed costs in the beef industry. Global transcriptome profiling was undertaken on liver and skeletal muscle biopsies from Simmental heifers and bulls divergent for residual feed intake (RFI), a widely acknowledged feed efficiency phenotype, in order to identify genes that may be associated with this trait. We identified 5 genes (adj. p < 0.1) to be differentially expressed in skeletal muscle between high and low RFI heifers with all transcripts involved in oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial homeostasis. A total of 11 genes (adj. p < 0. 1) were differentially expressed in liver tissue between high and low RFI bulls with differentially expressed genes related to amino and nucleotide metabolism as well as endoplasmic reticulum protein processing. No genes were identified as differentially expressed in either heifer liver or bull muscle analyses. Results from this study show that the molecular control of RFI in young cattle is modified according to gender, which may be attributable to differences in physiological maturity between heifers and bulls of the same age. Despite this we have highlighted a number of genes that may hold potential as molecular biomarkers for RFI cattle.
Project description:The objective of this study was to develop and validate a customized cost-effective single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panel for genetic improvement of feed efficiency in beef cattle. The SNPs identified in previous association studies and through extensive analysis of candidate genomic regions and genes, were screened for their functional impact and allele frequency in Angus and Hereford breeds used as validation candidates for the panel. Association analyses were performed on genotypes of 159 SNPs from new samples of Angus (n = 160), Hereford (n = 329), and Angus-Hereford crossbred (n = 382) cattle using allele substitution and genotypic models in ASReml. Genomic heritabilities were estimated for feed efficiency traits using the full set of SNPs, SNPs associated with at least one of the traits (at P ? 0.05 and P < 0.10), as well as the Illumina bovine 50K representing a widely used commercial genotyping panel. A total of 63 SNPs within 43 genes showed association (P ? 0.05) with at least one trait. The minor alleles of SNPs located in the GHR and CAST genes were associated with decreasing effects on residual feed intake (RFI) and/or RFI adjusted for backfat (RFIf), whereas minor alleles of SNPs within MKI67 gene were associated with increasing effects on RFI and RFIf. Additionally, the minor allele of rs137400016 SNP within CNTFR was associated with increasing average daily gain (ADG). The SNPs genotypes within UMPS, SMARCAL, CCSER1, and LMCD1 genes showed significant over-dominance effects whereas other SNPs located in SMARCAL1, ANXA2, CACNA1G, and PHYHIPL genes showed additive effects on RFI and RFIf. Gene enrichment analysis indicated that gland development, as well as ion and cation transport are important physiological mechanisms contributing to variation in feed efficiency traits. The study revealed the effect of the Jak-STAT signaling pathway on feed efficiency through the CNTFR, OSMR, and GHR genes. Genomic heritability using the 63 significant (P ? 0.05) SNPs was 0.09, 0.09, 0.13, 0.05, 0.05, and 0.07 for ADG, dry matter intake, midpoint metabolic weight, RFI, RFIf, and backfat, respectively. These SNPs contributed to genetic variation in the studied traits and thus can potentially be used or tested to generate cost-effective molecular breeding values for feed efficiency in beef cattle.