The fatty acid (FA) profile has a considerable impact on the nutritional and technological quality of milk and dairy products. The molecular mechanism underlying the regulation of fat metabolism in bovine mammary gland have been not completely elucidated. We conducted genome-wide association studies (GWAS) across 65 milk FAs and fat percentage in 1,152 Brown Swiss cows. In total, we identified 175 significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) spanning all chromosomes. Pathway analyses revealed that 12:0 was associated with the greatest number of overrepresented categories/pathways (e.g. mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity and protein phosphorylation), suggesting that it might play an important biological role in controlling milk fat composition. An Associated Weight Matrix approach based on SNP co-associations predicted a network of 791 genes related to the milk FA profile, which were involved in several connected molecular pathways (e.g., MAPK, lipid metabolism and hormone signalling) and undetectable through standard GWAS. Analysis of transcription factors and their putative target genes within the network identified BACH2, E2F3 and KDM5A as key regulators of milk FA metabolism. These findings contribute to increasing knowledge of FA metabolism and mammary gland functionality in dairy cows and may be useful in developing targeted breeding practices to improve milk quality.
SNP co-association and network analyses identify E2F3, KDM5A and BACH2 as key regulators of the bovine milk fatty acid profile / Pegolo, S.; Dadousis, C.; MacH, N.; Ramayo-Caldas, Y.; Mele, M.; Conte, G.; Schiavon, S.; Bittante, G.; Cecchinato, A.. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 7:1(2017), p. 17317.17317. [10.1038/s41598-017-17434-7]
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