• Alterations in hepatic miRNA expression during negative energy balance in postpartum dairy cattle

      Fatima, Attia; Waters, Sinead M.; O'Boyle, Padraig; Seoighe, Cathal; Morris, Dermot G (Biomed Central, 2014-01-15)
      Abstract Background Negative energy balance (NEB), an altered metabolic state, occurs in early postpartum dairy cattle when energy demands to support lactation exceed energy intake. During NEB the liver undergoes oxidative stress and increased breakdown of fatty acids accompanied by changes in gene expression. It is now known that micro RNAs (miRNA) can have a role in mediating such alterations in gene expression through repression or degradation of target mRNAs. miRNA expression is known to be altered by metabolism and environmental factors and miRNAs are implicated in expression modulation of metabolism related genes. Results miRNA expression was profiled in the liver of moderate yielding dairy cattle under severe NEB (SNEB) and mild NEB (MNEB) using the Affymetrix Gene Chip miRNA_2.0 array with 679 probe sets for Bos-taurus miRNAs. Ten miRNAs were found to be differentially expressed using the ‘samr’ statistical package (delta = 0.6) at a q-value FDR of < 12%. Five miRNAs including miR-17-5p, miR-31, miR-140, miR-1281 and miR-2885 were validated using RT-qPCR, to be up-regulated under SNEB. Liver diseases associated with these miRNAs include non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). miR-140 and miR-17-5p are known to show differential expression under oxidative stress. A total of 32 down-regulated putative target genes were also identified among 418 differentially expressed hepatic genes previously reported for the same animal model. Among these, GPR37 (G protein-coupled receptor 37), HEYL (hairy/enhancer-of-split related with YRPW motif-like), DNJA1, CD14 (Cluster of differentiation 14) and GNS (glucosamine (N-acetyl)-6-sulfatase) are known to be associated with hepatic metabolic disorders. In addition miR-140 and miR-2885 have binding sites on the most down-regulated of these genes, FADS2 (Fatty acid desaturase 2) which encodes an enzyme critical in lipid biosynthesis. Furthermore, HNF3-gamma (Hepatocyte nuclear factor 3-gamma), a hepatic transcription factor (TF) that is involved in IGF-1 expression regulation and maintenance of glucose homeostasis is a putative target of miR-31. Conclusions This study shows that SNEB affects liver miRNA expression and these miRNAs have putative targets in hepatic genes down-regulated under this condition. This study highlights the potential role of miRNAs in transcription regulation of hepatic gene expression during SNEB in dairy cattle. Background Negative energy balance (NEB), an altered metabolic state, occurs in early postpartum dairy cattle when energy demands to support lactation exceed energy intake. During NEB the liver undergoes oxidative stress and increased breakdown of fatty acids accompanied by changes in gene expression. It is now known that micro RNAs (miRNA) can have a role in mediating such alterations in gene expression through repression or degradation of target mRNAs. miRNA expression is known to be altered by metabolism and environmental factors and miRNAs are implicated in expression modulation of metabolism related genes. Results miRNA expression was profiled in the liver of moderate yielding dairy cattle under severe NEB (SNEB) and mild NEB (MNEB) using the Affymetrix Gene Chip miRNA_2.0 array with 679 probe sets for Bos-taurus miRNAs. Ten miRNAs were found to be differentially expressed using the ‘samr’ statistical package (delta = 0.6) at a q-value FDR of < 12%. Five miRNAs including miR-17-5p, miR-31, miR-140, miR-1281 and miR-2885 were validated using RT-qPCR, to be up-regulated under SNEB. Liver diseases associated with these miRNAs include non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). miR-140 and miR-17-5p are known to show differential expression under oxidative stress. A total of 32 down-regulated putative target genes were also identified among 418 differentially expressed hepatic genes previously reported for the same animal model. Among these, GPR37 (G protein-coupled receptor 37), HEYL (hairy/enhancer-of-split related with YRPW motif-like), DNJA1, CD14 (Cluster of differentiation 14) and GNS (glucosamine (N-acetyl)-6-sulfatase) are known to be associated with hepatic metabolic disorders. In addition miR-140 and miR-2885 have binding sites on the most down-regulated of these genes, FADS2 (Fatty acid desaturase 2) which encodes an enzyme critical in lipid biosynthesis. Furthermore, HNF3-gamma (Hepatocyte nuclear factor 3-gamma), a hepatic transcription factor (TF) that is involved in IGF-1 expression regulation and maintenance of glucose homeostasis is a putative target of miR-31. Conclusions This study shows that SNEB affects liver miRNA expression and these miRNAs have putative targets in hepatic genes down-regulated under this condition. This study highlights the potential role of miRNAs in transcription regulation of hepatic gene expression during SNEB in dairy cattle.
    • Association of bovine leptin polymorphisms with energy output and energy storage traits in progeny tested Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle sires

      Giblin, Linda; Butler, Stephen T.; Kearney, Breda M.; Waters, Sinead M.; Callanan, Michael J.; Berry, Donagh P. (Biomed Central, 2010-07-29)
      Background: Leptin modulates appetite, energy expenditure and the reproductive axis by signalling via its receptor the status of body energy stores to the brain. The present study aimed to quantify the associations between 10 novel and known single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes coding for leptin and leptin receptor with performance traits in 848 Holstein-Friesian sires, estimated from performance of up to 43,117 daughter-parity records per sire. Results: All single nucleotide polymorphisms were segregating in this sample population and none deviated (P > 0.05) from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Complete linkage disequilibrium existed between the novel polymorphism LEP-1609, and the previously identified polymorphisms LEP-1457 and LEP-580. LEP-2470 associated (P < 0.05) with milk protein concentration and calf perinatal mortality. It had a tendency to associate with milk yield (P < 0.1). The G allele of LEP-1238 was associated (P < 0.05) with reduced milk fat concentration, reduced milk protein concentration, longer gestation length and tended to associate (P < 0.1) with an increase in calving difficulty, calf perinatal mortality and somatic cells in the milk. LEP-963 exhibited an association (P < 0.05) with milk fat concentration, milk protein concentration, calving difficulty and gestation length. It also tended to associate with milk yield (P < 0.1). The R25C SNP associated (P < 0.05) with milk fat concentration, milk protein concentration, calving difficulty and length of gestation. The T allele of the Y7F SNP significantly associated with reduced angularity (P < 0.01) and reduced milk protein yield (P < 0.05). There was also a tendency (P < 0.1) for Y7F to associate with increased body condition score, reduced milk yield and shorter gestation (P < 0.1). A80V associated with reduced survival in the herd (P < 0.05). Conclusions Several leptin polymorphisms (LEP-2470, LEP-1238, LEP-963, Y7F and R25C) associated with the energetically expensive process of lactogenesis. Only SNP Y7F associated with energy storage. Associations were also observed between leptin polymorphisms and calving difficulty, gestation length and calf perinatal mortality. The lack of an association between the leptin variants investigated with calving interval in this large data set would question the potential importance of these leptin variants, or indeed leptin, in selection for improved fertility in the Holstein-Friesian dairy cow.
    • Associations between the K232A polymorphism in the diacylglycerol-O-transferase 1 (DGAT1) gene and performance in Irish Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle

      Berry, Donagh P.; Howard, Dawn J.; O'Boyle, P.; Waters, Sinead M.; Kearney, J.F.; McCabe, M. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Selection based on genetic polymorphisms requires accurate quantification of the effect or association of the polymorphisms with all traits of economic importance. The objective of this study was to estimate, using progeny performance data on 848 Holstein-Friesian bulls, the association between a non-conservative alanine to lysine amino acid change (K232A) in exon 8 of the diacylglycerol-O-transferase 1 (DGAT1) gene and milk production and functionality in the Irish Holstein-Friesian population. The DGAT1 gene encodes the diacylglycerol-O-transferase microsomal enzyme necessary to catalyze the final step in triglyceride synthesis. Weighted mixed model methodology, accounting for the additive genetic relationships among animals, was used to evaluate the association between performance and the K232A polymorphism. The minor allele frequency (K allele) was 0.32. One copy of the K allele was associated (P < 0.001) with 77 kg less milk yield, 4.22 kg more fat yield, 0.99 kg less protein yield, and 1.30 and 0.28 g/kg greater milk fat and protein concentration, respectively; all traits were based on predicted 305-day production across the first five lactations. The K232A polymorphism explained 4.8%, 10.3% and 1.0% of the genetic variance in milk yield, fat yield and protein yield, respectively. There was no association between the K232A polymorphism and fertility, functional survival, calving performance, carcass traits, or any conformation trait with the exception of rump width and carcass conformation. Using the current economic values for the milk production traits in the Irish total merit index, one copy of the K allele is worth €5.43 in expected profitability of progeny. Results from this study will be useful in quantifying the cost-benefit of including the K232A polymorphism in the Irish national breeding programme.
    • Differences in the expression of genes involved in the somatotropic axis in divergent strains of Holstein-Friesian dairy cows during early and mid lactation

      McCarthy, Sean D.; Butler, Stephen T.; Patton, Joe; Daly, Mairead; Morris, Dermot G.; Kenny, David A.; Waters, Sinead M. (Elsevier Inc. and American Dairy Science Association, 2009-10)
      Differences in genetic selection criteria for dairy cows internationally have led to divergence in the Holstein-Friesian breed. The objective of this study was to compare hepatic expression of genes of the somatotropic axis in the North American Holstein-Friesian and the New Zealand Holstein-Friesian strains of dairy cow at early and mid lactation. Mature cows of both the North American Holstein-Friesian (n = 10) and New Zealand Holstein-Friesian (n = 10) strains were selected. Liver tissue was collected by percutaneous punch biopsy from all cows at 35 and 140 d postpartum, representing early and mid lactation, respectively. Total RNA was extracted and the hepatic expression of genes involved in the control of the somatotropic axis was examined. Abundance of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 mRNA was greater in the New Zealand strain, concomitant with a tendency for increased expression of acid-labile subunit mRNA. Across strains, mRNA abundance of IGF-binding protein-1, IGF-binding protein-2, and growth hormone receptor 1A decreased from d 35 to 140 postpartum, whereas expression of IGF-1 and acid-labile subunit tended to increase. Abundance of suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 mRNA was increased at d 140 postpartum. Both the strain of Holstein-Friesian cow and the stage of lactation influenced expression of genes controlling the somatotropic axis in hepatic tissue.
    • Effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation on the transcriptional profile of bovine ruminal epithelium

      Keogh, Kate; Waters, Sinead M.; Cormican, Paul; Kelly, Alan K.; O'Shea, Emma; Kenny, David A. (PLOS, 2017-05-17)
      Compensatory growth (CG) is utilised worldwide in beef production systems as a management approach to reduce feed costs. However the underlying biology regulating the expression of CG remains to be fully elucidated. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation induced CG on the global gene expression profile of ruminal epithelial papillae. Holstein Friesian bulls (n = 60) were assigned to one of two groups: restricted feed allowance (RES; n = 30) for 125 days (Period 1) followed by ad libitum access to feed for 55 days (Period 2) or (ii) ad libitum access to feed throughout (ADLIB; n = 30). At the end of each period, 15 animals from each treatment were slaughtered and rumen papillae harvested. mRNA was isolated from all papillae samples collected. cDNA libraries were then prepared and sequenced. Resultant reads were subsequently analysed bioinformatically and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) are defined as having a Benjamini-Hochberg P value of <0.05. During re-alimentation in Period 2, RES animals displayed CG, growing at 1.8 times the rate of their ADLIB contemporary animals in Period 2 (P < 0.001). At the end of Period 1, 64 DEGs were identified between RES and ADLIB, with only one DEG identified at the end of Period 2. When analysed within RES treatment (RES, Period 2 v Period 1), 411 DEGs were evident. Genes identified as differentially expressed in response to both dietary restriction and subsequent CG included those involved in processes such as cellular interactions and transport, protein folding and gene expression, as well as immune response. This study provides an insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the expression of CG in rumen papillae of cattle; however the results suggest that the role of the ruminal epithelium in supporting overall animal CG may have declined by day 55 of re-alimentation.
    • Effect of Dietary Restriction and Subsequent Re-Alimentation on the Transcriptional Profile of Bovine Skeletal Muscle

      Keogh, Kate; Kenny, David A.; Cormican, Paul; McCabe, Matthew S.; Kelly, Alan; Waters, Sinead M. (PLOS, 2016-02-12)
      Compensatory growth (CG), an accelerated growth phenomenon which occurs following a period of dietary restriction is exploited worldwide in animal production systems as a method to lower feed costs. However the molecular mechanisms regulated CG expression remain to be elucidated fully. This study aimed to uncover the underlying biology regulating CG in cattle, through an examination of skeletal muscle transcriptional profiles utilising next generation mRNA sequencing technology. Twenty Holstein Friesian bulls were fed either a restricted diet for 125 days, with a target growth rate of 0.6 kg/day (Period 1), following which they were allowed feed ad libitum for a further 55 days (Period 2) or fed ad libitum for the entirety of the trial. M. longissimus dorsi biopsies were harvested from all bulls on days 120 and 15 of periods 1 and 2 respectively and RNAseq analysis was performed. During realimentation in Period 2, previously restricted animals displayed CG, growing at 1.8 times the rate of the ad libitum control animals. Compensating animals were also more feed efficient during re-alimentation and compensated for 48% of their previous dietary restriction. 1,430 and 940 genes were identified as significantly differentially expressed (Benjamini Hochberg adjusted P < 0.1) in periods 1 and 2 respectively. Additionally, 2,237 genes were differentially expressed in animals undergoing CG relative to dietary restriction. Dietary restriction in Period 1 was associated with altered expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism and energy production. CG expression in Period 2 occurred in association with greater expression of genes involved in cellular function and organisation. This study highlights some of the molecular mechanisms regulating CG in cattle. Differentially expressed genes identified are potential candidate genes for the identification of biomarkers for CG and feed efficiency, which may be incorporated into future breeding programmes
    • Effect of genotype on duodenal expression of nutrient transporter genes in dairy cows

      Waters, Sinead M.; Keogh, Kate; Buckley, Frank; Kenny, David A (Biomed Central, 2013-12-09)
      Background Studies have shown clear differences between dairy breeds in their feed intake and production efficiencies. The duodenum is critical in the coordination of digestion and absorption of nutrients. This study examined gene transcript abundance of important classes of nutrient transporters in the duodenum of non lactating dairy cows of different feed efficiency potential, namely Holstein-Friesian (HF), Jersey (JE) and their F1 hybrid. Duodenal epithelial tissue was collected at slaughter and stored at -80°C. Total RNA was extracted from tissue and reverse transcribed to generate cDNA. Gene expression of the following transporters, namely nucleoside; amino acid; sugar; mineral; and lipid transporters was measured using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Data were statistically analysed using mixed models ANOVA in SAS. Orthogonal contrasts were used to test for potential heterotic effects and spearman correlation coefficients calculated to determine potential associations amongst gene expression values and production efficiency variables. Results While there were no direct effects of genotype on expression values for any of the genes examined, there was evidence for a heterotic effect (P < 0.05) on ABCG8, in the form of increased expression in the F1 genotype compared to either of the two parent breeds. Additionally, a tendency for increased expression of the amino acid transporters, SLC3A1 (P = 0.072), SLC3A2 (P = 0.081) and SLC6A14 (P = 0.072) was also evident in the F1 genotype. A negative (P < 0.05) association was identified between the expression of the glucose transporter gene SLC5A1 and total lactational milk solids yield, corrected for body weight. Positive correlations (P < 0.05) were also observed between the expression values of genes involved in common transporter roles. Conclusion This study suggests that differences in the expression of sterol and amino acid transporters in the duodenum could contribute towards the documented differences in feed efficiency between HF, JE and their F1 hybrid. Furthermore, positive associations between the expression of genes involved in common transporter roles suggest that these may be co-regulated. The study identifies potential candidates for investigation of genetic variants regulating nutrient transport and absorption in the duodenum in dairy cows, which may be incorporated into future breeding programmes.
    • Effect of supplementation with different fat sources on the mechanisms involved in reproductive performance in lactating dairy cattle

      Hutchinson, Ian A.; Hennessy, A. A.; Waters, Sinead M.; Dewhurst, Richard J.; Evans, A.C.O.; Lonergan, P.; Butler, Stephen T. (Elsevier Inc., 2012-07-01)
      Supplementary fat positively influences reproductive performance in dairy cattle, although the mechanisms involved are not clearly defined. Our objective was to determine the effects of four different fat supplements on follicle development, plasma steroid hormone concentrations and prostaglandin (PG) synthesis in lactating dairy cattle. Forty-eight early lactation Holstein-Friesian cows (21 primiparous, 27 multiparous) were used in a completely randomized block design. Cows were fed the same basal TMR diet and received one of four fat supplements: (i) palmitic acid (18:0 fatty acid; Control), (ii) flaxseed (rich in 18:3 n-3 fatty acid; Flax), (iii) conjugated linoleic acid (a mixture of cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12 isomers; CLA), and (iv) fish oil (rich in 20:5 and 22:6 n-3 fatty acids; FO). All lipid supplements were formulated to be isolipidic; palmitic acid was added as necessary to provide a total lipid supplement intake of 500 g/day. Cows were synchronized to be in estrus on Day 15 of dietary treatment. All antral follicles were counted, and dominant follicles, subordinate follicles and corpora lutea were measured daily via transrectal ovarian ultrasonography for one complete estrous cycle. Blood samples were collected daily, and selected samples were analyzed for progesterone, estradiol, insulin-like growth factor-1, insulin, cholesterol and non-esterified fatty acids. Estrus was synchronized a second time, and liver and endometrial biopsies were collected on Day 7 of the estrous cycle. Gene expression was evaluated for a number of genes involved in prostaglandin synthesis (endometrium) and fatty acid uptake and utilization (liver). Fat supplementation had little effect on follicle development. Cows receiving supplementary n-3 fatty acids had lesser plasma progesterone (P4) and smaller corpora lutea than cows receiving the CLA or Control supplements. Effects of fat supplementation on the endometrial expression of genes involved in PG synthesis were minor. Hepatic expression of SREBF1, ASCL1 and FABP1 was reduced by FO supplementation. Reduced plasma P4 in n-3 supplemented cows may lead to a suboptimal uterine environment for embryo development and hence reduced fertility compared to cows receiving the control or CLA supplements.
    • Effects of negative energy balance on liver gene and protein expression during the early postpartum period and its impacts on dairy cow fertility

      Waters, Sinead M.; McCarthy, Sean D.; Morris, Dermot G.; Kenny, D.A.; Patton, Joe; Murphy, J.; Fenwick, M.; Wathes, D.C.; Fitzpatrick, Richard; Diskin, Michael G. (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      Negative energy balance (NEB) is a severe metabolic affecting high yielding dairy cows early post partum with both concurrent and latent negative effects on cow fertility as well as on milk production and cow health. The seasonal nature of Irish dairy production necessitates high cow fertility and a compact spring calving pattern in order to maximise grass utilisation. Poor dairy cow reproductive performance currently costs the Irish cattle industry in excess of €400 million annually. High milk yields have been associated with lower reproductive efficiency, and it has been suggested that this effect is probably mediated through its effects on the energy balance of the cow during lactation. The modern high genetic merit dairy cow prioritises nutrient supply towards milk production in early lactation and this demand takes precedence over the provision of optimal conditions for reproduction. In this study we used the bovine Affymetrix 23,000 gene microarray, which contains the most comprehensive set of bovine genes to be assembled and provides a means of investigating the modifying influences of energy balance on liver gene expression. Cows in severe negative energy balance (SNEB) in early lactation showed altered hepatic gene expression in metabolic processes as well as a down regulation of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system, where insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), growth hormone receptor variant 1A (GHR1A) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-acid labile subunit (IGFBP-ALS) were down regulated compared to the cows in the moderate negative energy balance MNEB group, consistent with a five-fold reduction in systemic concentrations of IGF1 in the SNEB group.Cows in SNEB showed elevated expression of key genes involved in the inflammatory response such as interleukin-8 (IL-8). There was a down regulation of genes involved in cellular growth in SNEB cows and moreover a negative regulator of cellular proliferation (HGFIN) was up regulated in SNEB cows, which is likely to compromise adaptation and recovery from NEB. The puma method of analysis revealed that 417 genes were differentially regulated by EB (P<0.05), of these genes 190 were up-regulated while 227 were down-regulated, with 405 genes having known biological functions. From Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA), lipid catabolism was found to be the process most affected by differences in EB status.
    • Examination of the bovine leukocyte environment using immunogenetic biomarkers to assess immunocompetence following exposure to weaning stress

      O'Loughlin, Aran; McGee, Mark; Waters, Sinead M.; Doyle, Sean; Earley, Bernadette (Biomed Central, 2011-08-11)
      Background: The molecular mechanisms by which stress induces the development of pathologies remains unclear, although it is recognised that one of the major factors affecting health as a consequence of stress is the involvement of the neuroendocrine system. In cattle, a number of necessary husbandry practices have been shown to activate the stress response, yet very little is known about the impact these have at the molecular level. The objectives of the study were to characterise, in male and female beef calves, the immune response to weaning stress in bovine leukocytes at the physiological and molecular levels and to assess the difference between calves weaned in the presence of the dam and those weaned and penned away from the dam. Results: Following exposure to weaning stress, total neutrophil number and neutrophil:lymphocyte (N:L) ratio increased (P < 0.01) in calves. Additionally, expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine genes, including IL-1β, IL-8, IFN-γ and TNFα, were up-regulated (P < 0.01). Furthermore, there was increased (P < 0.001) expression of the glucocorticoid receptor, GRα, the pro-apoptotic gene, Fas and the Gram-negative pattern recognition receptor, TLR4. Calves penned away from the dam post-weaning had increased (P < 0.01) neutrophil number and N:L ratio compared with calves penned next to the dam, and female calves had higher (P < 0.05) expression levels of IL-2, IL-8, IFN-γ and TNFα than male calves. Conclusions: Weaning elicits an immediate and somewhat short-lived acute stress response in the calf. The effects serve to enhance, rather than suppress, the immune response by means of a heightened inflammatory response and cellular mobilization. The earlier and more profound increase in neutrophil number and N:L ratio together with reduced lymphocyte number in calves penned away compared with calves penned near their dams post-weaning suggests that the former may be more sensitive to weaning stress. The data also show a clear effect of gender in differential gene expression in response to stress with IFN-γ having increased expression in female calves compared with male calves over the course of the study. Additionally, this study has helped to characterise the inflammatory response to stress in calves and identify a number of novel candidate biomarkers suitable for investigation in future studies of stress.
    • An examination of the molecular mechanisms controlling the tissue accumulation of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in cattle

      Waters, Sinead M.; Hynes, A.C.; Killeen, Aideen P.; Moloney, Aidan P; Kenny, David A. (Teagasc, 2008-12-01)
      Long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) have demonstrable and potential human health benefits in terms of preventing cancer, diabetes, chronic inflammation, obesity and coronary heart disease. Supplementation of cattle diets with a blend of oils rich in n-3 PUFA and linoleic acid have a synergistic effect on the accumulation of ruminal and tissue concentrations of trans vaccenic acid (TVA), the main substrate for ?-9 desaturase which is responsible for de novo tissue synthesis of the cis 9, trans 11 isomer of CLA. This dietary strategy translates into increases in milk concentrations of CLA in dairy cows; however, concentrations in the muscle of beef animals have not always been increased. There is an apparent paradox in that n-3 PUFA supplementation enhances ruminal synthesis of trans-vaccenic acid (TVA), but then inhibits its conversion to CLA possibly through altering the activity of ?-9 desaturase. Recently, the promoter regions of the bovine ?- 9 desaturase gene has been isolated and analysed and has been shown to contain a conserved PUFA response region.
    • Gastrointestinal tract size, total-tract digestibility, and rumen microflora in different dairy cow genotypes

      Beecher, Marion; Buckley, Frank; Waters, Sinead M.; Boland, T. M.; Enriquez-Hidalgo, D.; Deighton, M. H.; O'Donovan, Michael; Lewis, Eva (Elsevier Inc and American Dairy Science Association, 2014-04-03)
      The superior milk production efficiency of Jersey (JE) and Jersey × Holstein-Friesian (JE × HF) cows compared with Holstein-Friesian (HF) has been widely published. The biological differences among dairy cow genotypes, which could contribute to the milk production efficiency differences, have not been as widely studied however. A series of component studies were conducted using cows sourced from a longer-term genotype comparison study (JE, JE × HF, and HF). The objectives were to (1) determine if differences exist among genotypes regarding gastrointestinal tract (GIT) weight, (2) assess and quantify whether the genotypes tested differ in their ability to digest perennial ryegrass, and (3) examine the relative abundance of specific rumen microbial populations potentially relating to feed digestibility. Over 3 yr, the GIT weight was obtained from 33 HF, 35 JE, and 27 JE × HF nonlactating cows postslaughter. During the dry period the cows were offered a perennial ryegrass silage diet at maintenance level. The unadjusted GIT weight was heavier for the HF than for JE and JE × HF. When expressed as a proportion of body weight (BW), JE and JE × HF had a heavier GIT weight than HF. In vivo digestibility was evaluated on 16 each of JE, JE × HF, and HF lactating dairy cows. Cows were individually stalled, allowing for the total collection of feces and were offered freshly cut grass twice daily. During this time, daily milk yield, BW, and dry matter intake (DMI) were greater for HF and JE × HF than for JE; milk fat and protein concentration ranked oppositely. Daily milk solids yield did not differ among the 3 genotypes. Intake capacity, expressed as DMI per BW, tended to be different among treatments, with JE having the greatest DMI per BW, HF the lowest, and JE × HF being intermediate. Production efficiency, expressed as milk solids per DMI, was higher for JE than HF and JE × HF. Digestive efficiency, expressed as digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, N, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber, was higher for JE than HF. In grazing cows (n = 15 per genotype) samples of rumen fluid, collected using a transesophageal sampling device, were analyzed to determine the relative abundance of rumen microbial populations of cellulolytic bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. These are critically important for fermentation of feed into short-chain fatty acids. A decrease was observed in the relative abundance of Ruminococcus flavefaciens in the JE rumen compared with HF and JE × HF. We can deduce from this study that the JE genotype has greater digestibility and a different rumen microbial population than HF. Jersey and JE × HF cows had a proportionally greater GIT weight than HF. These differences are likely to contribute to the production efficiency differences among genotypes previously reported.
    • Genetic merit for fertility traits in Holstein cows: III. Hepatic expression of somatotropic axis genes during pregnancy and lactation

      Cummins, Sean B; Waters, Sinead M.; Evans, A.C.O.; Lonergan, P.; Butler, Stephen T. (American Dairy Science Association and Elsevier Inc., 2012-07)
      The objective of this study was to characterize the circulating concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and the hepatic expression of key genes regulating the somatotropic axis in cows divergent in genetic merit for fertility traits but with similar genetic merit for milk production traits. A total of 11 cows with good genetic merit for fertility (Fert+) and 12 cows with poor genetic merit for fertility (Fert−) underwent liver biopsy by percutaneous punch technique on d 20 (± 6.7 d) prepartum and on d 2 (± 1.5 d), d 58 (± 3.7 d), d 145 (± 13 d), and d 245 (± 17.1 d) postpartum. Total RNA was isolated and the mRNA expression of growth hormone receptor (GHR 1A and GHRtot), IGF-I, janus tyrosine kinase 2 (JAK2), signal transducer and activator of transcription 5B (STAT5B), suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS-3), acid-labile subunit (ALS), and IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP1 to IGFBP6) were measured by real-time quantitative PCR. During lactation, the circulating concentrations of IGF-I were 34% greater in Fert+ cows. The Fert+ cows had increased mean expression of IGF-I mRNA during the study; however, the difference in IGF-I mRNA abundance between Fert+ and Fert− cows was most pronounced at d 145 and 245. The expression of IGFBP3 and ALS transcript was similar in Fert+ and Fert− cows for the duration of the study. The Fert− cows, however, had greater expression of IGFBP2, IGFBP4, IGFBP5, and IGFBP6. Genotype had no effect on mRNA abundance of GHR 1A, STAT5B, JAK2, or SOCS-3. Genetic merit for fertility traits affects hepatic expression of key genes of the somatotropic axis regulating the synthesis, bioavailability, and stability of circulating IGF-I.
    • Illumina MiSeq Phylogenetic Amplicon Sequencing Shows a Large Reduction of an Uncharacterised Succinivibrionaceae and an Increase of the Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii Clade in Feed Restricted Cattle

      McCabe, Matthew Sean; Cormican, Paul; Keogh, Kate; O'Connor, Aaron; O'Hara, Eoin; Palladino, Rafael Alejandro; Kenny, David A.; Waters, Sinead M. (PLOS, 2015-07-30)
      Periodic feed restriction is used in cattle production to reduce feed costs. When normal feed levels are resumed, cattle catch up to a normal weight by an acceleration of normal growth rate, known as compensatory growth, which is not yet fully understood. Illumina Miseq Phylogenetic marker amplicon sequencing of DNA extracted from rumen contents of 55 bulls showed that restriction of feed (70% concentrate, 30% grass silage) for 125 days, to levels that caused a 60% reduction of growth rate, resulted in a large increase of relative abundance of Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii clade (designated as OTU-M7), and a large reduction of an uncharacterised Succinivibrionaceae species (designated as OTU-S3004). There was a strong negative Spearman correlation (ρ = -0.72, P = <1x10-20) between relative abundances of OTU-3004 and OTU-M7 in the liquid rumen fraction. There was also a significant increase in acetate:propionate ratio (A:P) in feed restricted animals that showed a negative Spearman correlation (ρ = -0.69, P = <1x10-20) with the relative abundance of OTU-S3004 in the rumen liquid fraction but not the solid fraction, and a strong positive Spearman correlation with OTU-M7 in the rumen liquid (ρ = 0.74, P = <1x10-20) and solid (ρ = 0.69, P = <1x10-20) fractions. Reduced A:P ratios in the rumen are associated with increased feed efficiency and reduced production of methane which has a global warming potential (GWP 100 years) of 28. Succinivibrionaceae growth in the rumen was previously suggested to reduce methane emissions as some members of this family utilise hydrogen, which is also utilised by methanogens for methanogenesis, to generate succinate which is converted to propionate. Relative abundance of OTU-S3004 showed a positive Spearman correlation with propionate (ρ = 0.41, P = <0.01) but not acetate in the liquid rumen fraction.
    • Polymorphism discovery and allele frequency estimation using high-throughput DNA sequencing of target-enriched pooled DNA samples.

      Mullen, Michael Paul; Creevey, Christopher J.; Berry, Donagh P.; McCabe, Matthew; Magee, David A; Howard, Dawn J; Killeen, Aideen P.; Park, Stephen D.; McGettigan, Paul A.; Lucy, Matt C.; MacHugh, David E; Waters, Sinead M. (Biomed Central, 2012-01-11)
      Background: The central role of the somatotrophic axis in animal post-natal growth, development and fertility is well established. Therefore, the identification of genetic variants affecting quantitative traits within this axis is an attractive goal. However, large sample numbers are a pre-requisite for the identification of genetic variants underlying complex traits and although technologies are improving rapidly, high-throughput sequencing of large numbers of complete individual genomes remains prohibitively expensive. Therefore using a pooled DNA approach coupled with target enrichment and high-throughput sequencing, the aim of this study was to identify polymorphisms and estimate allele frequency differences across 83 candidate genes of the somatotrophic axis, in 150 Holstein-Friesian dairy bulls divided into two groups divergent for genetic merit for fertility. Results: In total, 4,135 SNPs and 893 indels were identified during the resequencing of the 83 candidate genes. Nineteen percent (n = 952) of variants were located within 5' and 3' UTRs. Seventy-two percent (n = 3,612) were intronic and 9% (n = 464) were exonic, including 65 indels and 236 SNPs resulting in non-synonymous substitutions (NSS). Significant (P < 0.01) mean allele frequency differentials between the low and high fertility groups were observed for 720 SNPs (58 NSS). Allele frequencies for 43 of the SNPs were also determined by genotyping the 150 individual animals (Sequenom® MassARRAY). No significant differences (P > 0.1) were observed between the two methods for any of the 43 SNPs across both pools (i.e., 86 tests in total). Conclusions: The results of the current study support previous findings of the use of DNA sample pooling and high-throughput sequencing as a viable strategy for polymorphism discovery and allele frequency estimation. Using this approach we have characterised the genetic variation within genes of the somatotrophic axis and related pathways, central to mammalian post-natal growth and development and subsequent lactogenesis and fertility. We have identified a large number of variants segregating at significantly different frequencies between cattle groups divergent for calving interval plausibly harbouring causative variants contributing to heritable variation. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing sequencing of targeted genomic regions in any livestock species using groups with divergent phenotypes for an economically important trait.
    • RNA-seq analysis of differential gene expression in liver from lactating dairy cows divergent in negative energy balance

      McCabe, Matthew; Waters, Sinead M.; Morris, Dermot G.; Kenny, David J; Lynn, David J; Creevey, Christopher J. (Biomed Central, 2012-05-20)
      Background: The liver is central to most economically important metabolic processes in cattle. However, the changes in expression of genes that drive these processes remain incompletely characterised. RNA-seq is the new gold standard for whole transcriptome analysis but so far there are no reports of its application to analysis of differential gene expression in cattle liver. We used RNA-seq to study differences in expression profiles of hepatic genes and their associated pathways in individual cattle in either mild negative energy balance (MNEB) or severe negative energy balance (SNEB). NEB is an imbalance between energy intake and energy requirements for lactation and body maintenance. This aberrant metabolic state affects high-yielding dairy cows after calving and is of considerable economic importance because of its negative impact on fertility and health in dairy herds. Analysis of changes in hepatic gene expression in SNEB animals will increase our understanding of NEB and contribute to the development of strategies to circumvent it. Results: RNA-seq analysis was carried out on total RNA from liver from early post partum Holstein Friesian cows in MNEB (n = 5) and SNEB (n = 6). 12,833 genes were deemed to be expressed (>4 reads per gene per animal), 413 of which were shown to be statistically significantly differentially expressed (SDE) at a false discovery rate (FDR) of 0.1% and 200 of which were SDE (FDR of 0.1%) with a ≥2-fold change between MNEB and SNEB animals. GOseq/KEGG pathway analysis showed that SDE genes with ≥2- fold change were associated (P <0.05) with 9 KEGG pathways. Seven of these pathways were related to fatty acid metabolism and unexpectedly included ‘Steroid hormone biosynthesis’, a process which mainly occurs in the reproductive organs rather than the liver. Conclusions: RNA-seq analysis showed that the major changes at the level of transcription in the liver of SNEB cows were related to fat metabolism. 'Steroid hormone biosynthesis', a process that normally occurs in reproductive tissue, was significantly associated with changes in gene expression in the liver of SNEB cows. Changes in gene expression were found in this pathway that have not been previously been identified in SNEB cows.
    • Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) gene are associated with performance in Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle

      Mullen, Michael Paul; Berry, Donagh P.; Howard, Dawn J.; Diskin, Michael G.; Lynch, Ciaran O.; Giblin, Linda; Kenny, David A.; Magee, David A; Meade, Kieran G; Waters, Sinead M. (Frontiers Media SA, 2011-02-16)
      Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) has been shown to be associated with fertility, growth, and development in cattle. The aim of this study was to (1) identify novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the bovine IGF-1 gene and alongside previously identified SNPs (2) determine their association with traits of economic importance in Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle. Nine novel SNPs were identified across a panel of 22 beef and dairy cattle by sequence analysis of the 5′ promoter, intronic, and 3′ regulatory regions, encompassing ∼5 kb of IGF-1. Genotyping and associations with daughter performance for milk production, fertility, survival, and measures of body size were undertaken on 848 Holstein-Friesian AI sires. Using multiple regression analysis nominal associations (P < 0.05) were identified between six SNPs (four novel and two previously identified) and milk composition, survival, body condition score, and body size. The C allele of AF017143 a previously published SNP (C-512T) in the promoter region of IGF-1 predicted to introduce binding sites for transcription factors HSF1 and ZNF217 was associated (P < 0.05) with increased cow carcass weight (i.e., an indicator of mature cow size). Novel SNPs were identified in the 3′ region of IGF-1 were associated (P < 0.05) with functional survival and chest width. The remaining four SNPs, all located within introns of IGF-1 were associated (P < 0.05) with milk protein yield, milk fat yield, milk fat concentration, somatic cell score, carcass conformation, and carcass fat. Results of this study further demonstrate the multifaceted influences of IGF-1 on milk production and growth related traits in cattle.