Detection of Co-expressed Pathway Modules Associated With Mineral Concentration and Meat Quality in Nelore Cattle.
ABSTRACT: Meat quality is a complex trait that is influenced by genetic and environmental factors, which includes mineral concentration. However, the association between mineral concentration and meat quality, and the specific molecular pathways underlying this association, are not well explored. We therefore analyzed gene expression as measured with RNA-seq in Longissimus thoracis muscle of 194 Nelore steers for association with three meat quality traits (intramuscular fat, meat pH, and tenderness) and the concentration of 13 minerals (Ca, Cr, Co, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, P, S, Se, and Zn). We identified seven sets of co-expressed genes (modules) associated with at least two traits, which indicates that common pathways influence these traits. From pathway analysis of module hub genes, we further found an over-representation for energy and protein metabolism (AMPK and mTOR signaling pathways) in addition to muscle growth, and protein turnover pathways. Among the identified hub genes FASN, ELOV5, and PDE3B are involved with lipid metabolism and were affected by previously identified eQTLs associated to fat deposition. The reported hub genes and over-represented pathways provide evidence of interplay among gene expression, mineral concentration, and meat quality traits. Future studies investigating the effect of different levels of mineral supplementation in the gene expression and meat quality traits could help us to elucidate the regulatory mechanism by which the genes/pathways are affected.
Project description:Nelore is the major beef cattle breed in Brazil with more than 130 million heads. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are often used to associate markers and genomic regions to growth and meat quality traits that can be used to assist selection programs. An alternative methodology to traditional GWAS that involves the construction of gene network interactions, derived from results of several GWAS is the AWM (Association Weight Matrices)/PCIT (Partial Correlation and Information Theory). With the aim of evaluating the genetic architecture of Brazilian Nelore cattle, we used high-density SNP genotyping data (~770,000 SNP) from 780 Nelore animals comprising 34 half-sibling families derived from highly disseminated and unrelated sires from across Brazil. The AWM/PCIT methodology was employed to evaluate the genes that participate in a series of eight phenotypes related to growth and meat quality obtained from this Nelore sample.Our results indicate a lack of structuring between the individuals studied since principal component analyses were not able to differentiate families by its sires or by its ancestral lineages. The application of the AWM/PCIT methodology revealed a trio of transcription factors (comprising VDR, LHX9 and ZEB1) which in combination connected 66 genes through 359 edges and whose biological functions were inspected, some revealing to participate in biological growth processes in literature searches.The diversity of the Nelore sample studied is not high enough to differentiate among families neither by sires nor by using the available ancestral lineage information. The gene networks constructed from the AWM/PCIT methodology were a useful alternative in characterizing genes and gene networks that were allegedly influential in growth and meat quality traits in Nelore cattle.
Project description:Mineral contents in bovine muscle can affect meat quality, growth, health, and reproductive traits. To better understand the genetic basis of this phenotype in Nelore (Bos indicus) cattle, we analysed genome-wide mRNA and miRNA expression data from 114 muscle samples. The analysis implemented a new application for two complementary algorithms: the partial correlation and information theory (PCIT) and the regulatory impact factor (RIF), in which we included the estimated genomic breeding values (GEBVs) for the phenotypes additionally to the expression levels, originally proposed for these methods. We used PCIT to determine putative regulatory relationships based on significant associations between gene expression and GEBVs for each mineral amount. Then, RIF was adopted to determine the regulatory impact of genes and miRNAs expression over the GEBVs for the mineral amounts. We also investigated over-represented pathways, as well as pieces of evidences from previous studies carried in the same population and in the literature, to determine regulatory genes for the mineral amounts. For example, NOX1 expression level was positively correlated to Zinc and has been described as Zinc-regulated in humans. Based on our approach, we were able to identify genes, miRNAs and pathways not yet described as underlying mineral amount. The results support the hypothesis that extracellular matrix interactions are the core regulator of mineral amount in muscle cells. Putative regulators described here add information to this hypothesis, expanding the knowledge on molecular relationships between gene expression and minerals.
Project description:Feed efficiency helps to reduce environmental impacts from livestock production, improving beef cattle profitability. We identified potential biomarkers (hub genes) for feed efficiency, by applying co-expression analysis in Longissimus thoracis RNA-Seq data from 180 Nelore steers. Six co-expression modules were associated with six feed efficiency-related traits (p-value ? 0.05). Within these modules, 391 hub genes were enriched for pathways as protein synthesis, muscle growth, and immune response. Trait-associated transcription factors (TFs) ELF1, ELK3, ETS1, FLI1, and TCF4, were identified with binding sites in at least one hub gene. Gene expression of CCDC80, FBLN5, SERPINF1, and OGN was associated with multiple feed efficiency-related traits (FDR ? 0.05) and were previously related to glucose homeostasis, oxidative stress, fat mass, and osteoblastogenesis, respectively. Potential regulatory elements were identified, integrating the hub genes with previous studies from our research group, such as the putative cis-regulatory elements (eQTLs) inferred as affecting the PCDH18 and SPARCL1 hub genes related to immune system and adipogenesis, respectively. Therefore, our analyses contribute to a better understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying feed efficiency in bovine and the hub genes disclosed can be used as biomarkers for feed efficiency-related traits in Nelore cattle.
Project description:Transcript data obtained by RNA-Seq were used to identify differentially expressed alternatively spliced genes in ribeye muscle tissue between Nelore cattle that differed in their ribeye area (REA) or intramuscular fat content (IF). A total of 166 alternatively spliced transcripts from 125 genes were significantly differentially expressed in ribeye muscle between the highest and lowest REA groups (p???0.05). For animals selected on their IF content, 269 alternatively spliced transcripts from 219 genes were differentially expressed in ribeye muscle between the highest and lowest IF animals. Cassette exons and alternative 3' splice sites were the most frequently found alternatively spliced transcripts for REA and IF content. For both traits, some differentially expressed alternatively spliced transcripts belonged to myosin and myotilin gene families. The hub transcripts were identified for REA (LRRFIP1, RCAN1 and RHOBTB1) and IF (TRIP12, HSPE1 and MAP2K6) have an important role to play in muscle cell degradation, development and motility. In general, transcripts were found for both traits with biological process GO terms that were involved in pathways related to protein ubiquitination, muscle differentiation, lipids and hormonal systems. Our results reinforce the biological importance of these known processes but also reveal new insights into the complexity of the whole cell muscle mRNA of Nelore cattle.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The aim of this study was to use transcriptome RNA-Seq data from longissimus thoracis muscle of uncastrated Nelore males to identify hub genes based on co-expression network obtained from differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with intramuscular fat content. RESULTS:A total of 30 transcriptomics datasets (RNA-Seq) obtained from longissimus thoracis muscle were selected based on the phenotypic value of divergent intramuscular fat content: 15 with the highest intramuscular fat content (HIF) and 15 with the lowest intramuscular fat content (LIF). The transcriptomics datasets were aligned with a reference genome and 65 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, including 21 upregulated and 44 downregulated genes in HIF animals. The normalized count data from DEGs was then used for co-expression network construction. From the co-expression network, four modules were identified. The topological properties of the network were analyzed; those genes engaging in the most interactions (maximal clique centrality method) with other DEGs were predicted to be hub genes (PDE4D, KLHL30 and IL1RAP), which consequently may play a role in cellular and/or systemic lipid biology in Nelore cattle. Top modules screened from the gene co-expression network were identify. The two candidate modules had clear associated biological pathways related to fat development, cell adhesion, and muscle differentiation, immune system, among others. The hub genes belonged in top modules and were downregulated in HIF animals. PDE4D and IL1RAP have known effects on lipid metabolism and the immune system through the regulation of cAMP signaling. Given that cAMP is known to play a role in lipid systems, PDE4D and IL1RAP downregulation may contribute to increased levels of intracellular cAMP and thus may have effects on IF content differences in Nelore cattle. KLHL30 may have effects on muscle metabolism. Klhl protein families play a role in protein degradation. However, the downregulation of this gene and its role in lipid metabolism has not yet been clarified. CONCLUSIONS:The results reported in this study indicate candidate genes and molecular mechanisms involved in IF content difference in Nelore cattle.
Project description:The identification of genomic regions associated with reproductive traits as well as their biological processes allows a better understanding of the phenotypic variability of these traits. This information could be applied to animal breeding programs to accelerate genetic gain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) with a scrotal circumference at 365 days of age (SC365) and at 450 days of age (SC450), gestation length (GL) as a calf trait, age at first calving (AFC), accumulated productivity (ACP), heifer early calving until 30 months (HC30), and stayability (STAY) traits, in order to identify candidate genes and biological pathways associated with reproductive traits in Nelore cattle. The data set consisted of pedigree, phenotypes, and genotypes of Nelore cattle from the "Associação Nacional de Criadores e Pesquisadores" (ANCP). The association analyses were performed using the Weighted Single-Step Genome-Wide Association method; the regions, consisting of 10 consecutive SNP, which explained more than 0.5% of additive genetic variance, were considered as a significant association. A total of 3, 6, 7, 5, 10, 25, and 12 windows were associated with SC355, SC450, GL, AFC, ACP, HC30, and STAY, respectively. The results revealed genes with important functions for reproductive traits, such as fertility and precocity. Some genes were associated with more than one trait, among them <i>CAMK1D</i>, <i>TASP1</i>, <i>ACOXL</i>, <i>RAB11FIP5</i>, and <i>SFXN5</i>. Moreover, the genes were enriched in functional terms, like negative regulation of fat cell differentiation, fatty acid alpha-oxidation, and sphingolipids signaling pathway. The identification of the genes associated with the traits, as well as genes enriched in the terms and pathway mentioned above, should contribute to future biological validation studies and may be used as candidate genes in Nelore breeding programs.
Project description:Brazil is one of the largest beef producers and exporters in the world with the Nelore breed representing the vast majority of Brazilian cattle (Bos taurus indicus). Despite the great adaptability of the Nelore breed to tropical climate, meat tenderness (MT) remains to be improved. Several factors including genetic composition can influence MT. In this article, we report a genome-wide analysis of copy number variation (CNV) inferred from Illumina® High Density SNP-chip data for a Nelore population of 723 males. We detected >2,600 CNV regions (CNVRs) representing ?6.5% of the genome. Comparing our results with previous studies revealed an overlap in ?1400 CNVRs (>50%). A total of 1,155 CNVRs (43.6%) overlapped 2,750 genes. They were enriched for processes involving guanosine triphosphate (GTP), previously reported to influence skeletal muscle physiology and morphology. Nelore CNVRs also overlapped QTLs for MT reported in other breeds (8.9%, 236 CNVRs) and from a previous study with this population (4.1%, 109 CNVRs). Two CNVRs were also proximal to glutathione metabolism genes that were previously associated with MT. Genome-wide association study of CN state with estimated breeding values derived from meat shear force identified 6 regions, including a region on BTA3 that contains genes of the cAMP and cGMP pathway. Ten CNVRs that overlapped regions associated with MT were successfully validated by qPCR. Our results represent the first comprehensive CNV study in Bos taurus indicus cattle and identify regions in which copy number changes are potentially of importance for the MT phenotype.
Project description:Iron (Fe) is an essential mineral for metabolism and plays a central role in a range of biochemical processes. Therefore, this study aimed to identify differentially expressed (DE) genes and metabolic pathways in Longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle from cattle with divergent iron content, as well as to investigate the likely role of these DE genes in biological processes underlying beef quality parameters. Samples for RNA extraction for sequencing and iron, copper, manganese, and zinc determination were collected from LD muscles at slaughter. Eight Nelore steers, with extreme genomic estimated breeding values for iron content (Fe-GEBV), were selected from a reference population of 373 animals. From the 49 annotated DE genes (FDR<0.05) found between the two groups, 18 were up-regulated and 31 down-regulated for the animals in the low Fe-GEBV group. The functional enrichment analyses identified several biological processes, such as lipid transport and metabolism, and cell growth. Lipid metabolism was the main pathway observed in the analysis of metabolic and canonical signaling pathways for the genes identified as DE, including the genes FASN, FABP4, and THRSP, which are functional candidates for beef quality, suggesting reduced lipogenic activities with lower iron content. Our results indicate metabolic pathways that are partially influenced by iron, contributing to a better understanding of its participation in skeletal muscle physiology.
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: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.