• Liver transcriptome profiling of beef steers with divergent growth rate, feed intake, or metabolic body weight phenotypes

      Mukiibi, Robert; Vinsky, Michael; Keogh, Kate; Fitzsimmons, Carolyn; Stothard, Paul; Waters, Sinéad M; Li, Changxi; Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency; Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; Genome Alberta; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019-10-04)
      Average daily gain (ADG) and daily dry matter intake (DMI) are key determinants of beef industry profitability. These traits together with metabolic body weight (MWT) are combined as component traits to calculate residual feed intake (RFI), a common measure of feed efficiency in beef cattle. Recently, there have been significant efforts towards molecular genetic characterization of RFI through transcriptomic studies in different breeds and tissues. However, molecular mechanisms of RFI component traits still remain predominately unexplored. Therefore, in the current study, we investigated the hepatic transcriptomic profiles and their associations with ADG, DMI, and MWT in Angus, Charolais, and Kinsella Composite (KC) populations through global RNAseq analyses. In each population and for each trait, 12 steers with extreme phenotypes (n = 6 low and n = 6 high) were analyzed for differential gene expression. These animals were from 20 beef steers of each Angus, Charolais, and KC breed population that were initially selected for a transcriptome study of RFI. At a false discovery rate <0.05 and fold change >1.5, we identified 123, 102, and 78 differentially expressed (DE) genes between high- and lowADG animals of Angus, Charolais, and KC populations, respectively. For DMI, 108, 180, and 156 DE genes were identified between high- and low-DMI from Angus, Charolais, and KC populations, respectively, while for MWT, 80, 82, and 84 genes were differentially expressed between high- and low-MWT animals in Angus, Charolais, and KC populations, respectively. The identified DE genes were largely breed specific (81.7% for ADG, 82.7% for DMI, and 83% for MWT), but were largely involved in the same biological functions across the breeds. Among the most enriched biological functions included metabolism of major nutrients (lipids, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals), small molecule biochemistry, cellular movement, cell morphology, and cell-to-cell signaling and interaction. Notably, we identified multiple DE genes that are involved in cholesterol biosynthesis, and immune response pathways for the 3 studied traits. Thus, our findings present potential molecular genetic mechanisms and candidate genes that influence feed intake, growth, and MWT of beef cattle.
    • Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for cattle stature identifies common genes that regulate body size in mammals

      Bouwman, Aniek C.; Hayes, Ben J.; Purfield, Deirdre C; Berry, Donagh; Chamberlain, Amanda J.; Hurtado Ponce, Carla; Sargolzaei, Mehdi; Schenkel, Flavio S.; Sahana, Goutam; Govignon-Gion, Armelle; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-02-19)
      Stature is affected by many polymorphisms of small effect in humans1. In contrast, variation in dogs, even within breeds, has been suggested to be largely due to variants in a small number of genes2,3. Here we use data from cattle to compare the genetic architecture of stature to those in humans and dogs. We conducted a meta-analysis for stature using 58,265 cattle from 17 populations with 25.4 million imputed whole-genome sequence variants. Results showed that the genetic architecture of stature in cattle is similar to that in humans, as the lead variants in 163 significantly associated genomic regions (P < 5 × 10−8) explained at most 13.8% of the phenotypic variance. Most of these variants were noncoding, including variants that were also expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) and in ChIP–seq peaks. There was significant overlap in loci for stature with humans and dogs, suggesting that a set of common genes regulates body size in mammals.
    • Transcriptome analyses reveal reduced hepatic lipid synthesis and accumulation in more feed efficient beef cattle

      Mukiibi, Robert; Vinsky, Michael; Fitzsimmons, Carolyn; Stothard, Paul; Waters, Sinead M.; Li, Changxi; Keogh, Kate; Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency; Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-05-08)
      The genetic mechanisms controlling residual feed intake (RFI) in beef cattle are still largely unknown. Here we performed whole transcriptome analyses to identify differentially expressed (DE) genes and their functional roles in liver tissues between six extreme high and six extreme low RFI steers from three beef breed populations including Angus, Charolais, and Kinsella Composite (KC). On average, the next generation sequencing yielded 34 million single-end reads per sample, of which 87% were uniquely mapped to the bovine reference genome. At false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05 and fold change (FC) > 2, 72, 41, and 175 DE genes were identified in Angus, Charolais, and KC, respectively. Most of the DE genes were breed-specific, while five genes including TP53INP1, LURAP1L, SCD, LPIN1, and ENSBTAG00000047029 were common across the three breeds, with TP53INP1, LURAP1L, SCD, and LPIN1 being downregulated in low RFI steers of all three breeds. The DE genes are mainly involved in lipid, amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism, energy production, molecular transport, small molecule biochemistry, cellular development, and cell death and survival. Furthermore, our differential gene expression results suggest reduced hepatic lipid synthesis and accumulation processes in more feed efficient beef cattle of all three studied breeds.