Gene expression profiles in liver of pigs with extreme high and low levels of androstenone

The Norwegian Pig Breeders Association (NORSVIN), Hamar, Norway.
BMC Veterinary Research (Impact Factor: 1.78). 09/2008; 4(1):29. DOI: 10.1186/1746-6148-4-29
Source: PubMed


Boar taint is the unpleasant odour and flavour of the meat of uncastrated male pigs that is primarily caused by high levels of androstenone and skatole in adipose tissue. Androstenone is a steroid and its levels are mainly genetically determined. Studies on androstenone metabolism have, however, focused on a limited number of genes. Identification of additional genes influencing levels of androstenone may facilitate implementation of marker assisted breeding practices. In this study, microarrays were used to identify differentially expressed genes and pathways related to androstenone metabolism in the liver from boars with extreme levels of androstenone in adipose tissue.
Liver tissue samples from 58 boars of the two breeds Duroc and Norwegian Landrace, 29 with extreme high and 29 with extreme low levels of androstenone, were selected from more than 2500 individuals. The samples were hybridised to porcine cDNA microarrays and the 1% most significant differentially expressed genes were considered significant. Among the differentially expressed genes were metabolic phase I related genes belonging to the cytochrome P450 family and the flavin-containing monooxygenase FMO1. Additionally, phase II conjugation genes including UDP-glucuronosyltransferases UGT1A5, UGT2A1 and UGT2B15, sulfotransferase STE, N-acetyltransferase NAT12 and glutathione S-transferase were identified. Phase I and phase II metabolic reactions increase the water solubility of steroids and play a key role in their elimination. Differential expression was also found for genes encoding 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (HSD17B2, HSD17B4, HSD17B11 and HSD17B13) and plasma proteins alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) and orosomucoid (ORM1). 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases and plasma proteins regulate the availability of steroids by controlling the amount of active steroids accessible to receptors and available for metabolism. Differences in the expression of FMO1, NAT12, HSD17B2 and HSD17B13 were verified by quantitative real competitive PCR.
A number of genes and pathways related to metabolism of androstenone in liver were identified, including new candidate genes involved in phase I oxidation metabolism, phase II conjugation metabolism, and regulation of steroid availability. The study is a first step towards a deeper understanding of enzymes and regulators involved in pathways of androstenone metabolism and may ultimately lead to the discovery of markers to reduce boar taint.

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    • "Recent results suggest, however, that SULT2A1 might not be involved in the sulfoconjugation of androstenone and that another sulfotransferase is involved in this step, or that it is involved only in combination with enolase [25]. Moe et al. [26] also studied gene expression in the liver and found many genes to be differentially expressed but not SULT2A1, similar to our observation for the liver. "
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    ABSTRACT: Androstenone is one of the major compounds responsible for boar taint, a pronounced urine-like odor produced when cooking boar meat. Several studies have identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) for androstenone level on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 6. For one of the candidate genes in the region SULT2A1, a difference in expression levels in the testis has been shown at the protein and RNA level. Haplotypes were predicted for the QTL region and their effects were estimated showing that haplotype 1 was consistently related with a lower level, and haplotype 2 with a higher level of androstenone. A recombinant haplotype allowed us to narrow down the QTL region from 3.75 Mbp to 1.94 Mbp. An RNA-seq analysis of the liver and testis revealed six genes that were differentially expressed between homozygotes of haplotypes 1 and 2. Genomic sequences of these differentially expressed genes were checked for variations within potential regulatory regions. We identified one variant located within a CpG island that could affect expression of SULT2A1 gene. An allele-specific expression analysis in the testis did not show differential expression between the alleles of SULT2A1 located on the different haplotypes in heterozygous animals. However a synonymous mutation C166T (SSC6: 49,117,861 bp in Sscrofa 10.2; C/T) was identified within the exon 2 of SULT2A1 for which the haplotype 2 only had the C allele which was higher expressed than the T allele, indicating haplotype-independent allelic-imbalanced expression between the two alleles. A phylogenetic analysis for the 1.94 Mbp region revealed that haplotype 1, associated with low androstenone level, originated from Asia. Differential expression could be observed for six genes by RNA-seq analysis. No difference in the ratio of C:T expression of SULT2A1 for the haplotypes was found by the allele-specific expression analysis, however, a difference in expression between the C over T allele was found for a variation within SULT2A1, showing that the difference in androstenone levels between the haplotypes is not caused by the SNP in exon 2.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · BMC Genetics
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    • "In the current study the peak SNP was found to be located within an intron of the gene LOC100518755 (polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-like 6-like). Previously, NAT12 (N-acetyltransferase 12) involved in phase II metabolism in the liver has been shown to be differentially expressed when analysing extreme high vs. extreme low androstenone Duroc and Norwegian Landrace animals [35]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Boar taint is the undesirable smell and taste of pork meat derived from some entire male pigs. The main causes of boar taint are the two compounds androstenone and skatole (3-methyl-indole). The steroid androstenone is a sex pheromone produced in the testis of the boars. Skatole is produced from tryptophan by bacteria in the intestine of the pigs. In many countries pigs are castrated as piglets to avoid boar taint, however, this is undesirable for animal welfare reasons. Genetic variations affecting the level of boar taint have previously been demonstrated in many breeds. In the study presented in this paper, markers and haplotypes, which can be applied to DNA-based selection schemes in order to reduce or eliminate the boar taint problem, are identified. Approximately 30,000 SNPs segregating in 923 boars from three Danish breeds; Duroc, Landrace, and Yorkshire, were used to conduct genome wide association studies of boar taint compounds. At 46 suggestive quantitative trait loci (QTL), 25 haplotypes and three single markers with effects were identified. Furthermore, 40% of the haplotypes mapped to previously identified regions. Haplotypes were also analysed for effects of slaughter weight and meat content. The most promising haplotype was identified on Sus scrofa chromosome 1. The gain in fixed effect of having this haplotype on level of androstenone in Landrace was identified to be high (1.279 μg/g). In addition, this haplotype explained 16.8% of the phenotypic variation within the trait. The haplotype was identified around the gene CYB5A which is known to have an indirect impact on the amount of androstenone. In addition to CYB5A, the genes SRD5A2, LOC100518755, and CYP21A2 are candidate genes for other haplotypes affecting androstenone, whereas, candidate genes for the indolic compounds were identified to be SULT1A1 and CYP2E1. Despite the small sample size, a total of 25 haplotypes and three single markers were identified including genomic regions not previously reported. The haplotypes that were analysed showed large effects on trait level. However, little overlap of QTL between breeds was observed.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · BMC Genomics
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    • "We found that the QTL3a is also affecting estrogens in both breeds, and that the Landrace specific QTL3b affects both testosterone (results not shown) and estrogens (Table 1). The genes DCI, GLIS2, TIGD7, RAB11FIP3, NARFL, GNPTG, IL1A and IL1R1 are all localized within QTL3a (Table 3) and found to be differentially expressed in testis or liver in high androstenone Landrace and/or Duroc [20,21]. Interestingly, IL1A has been found to interact with CYP1A1 [34], which is localized within the QTL7b peak (see Table 1). "
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    ABSTRACT: Boar taint is observed in a high proportion of uncastrated male pigs and is characterized by an unpleasant odor/flavor in cooked meat, primarily caused by elevated levels of androstenone and skatole. Androstenone is a steroid produced in the testis in parallel with biosynthesis of other sex steroids like testosterone and estrogens. This represents a challenge when performing selection against androstenone in breeding programs, without simultaneously decreasing levels of other steroids. The aim of this study was to use high-density genome wide association (GWA) in combination with linkage disequilibrium-linkage analysis (LDLA) to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with boar taint compounds and related sex steroids in commercial Landrace (n = 1,251) and Duroc (n = 918) breeds. Altogether, 14 genome wide significant (GWS) QTL regions for androstenone in subcutaneous fat were obtained from the LDLA study in Landrace and 14 GWS QTL regions in Duroc. LDLA analysis revealed that 7 of these QTL regions, located on SSC 1, 2, 3, 7 and 15, were obtained in both breeds. All 14 GWS androstenone QTLs in Landrace are also affecting the estrogens at chromosome wise significance (CWS) or GWS levels, while in Duroc, 3 of the 14 QTLs affect androstenone without affecting any of the estrogens. For skatole, 10 and 4 QTLs were GWS in the LDLA analysis for Landrace and Duroc respectively, with 4 of these detected in both breeds. The GWS QTLs for skatole obtained by LDLA are located at SSC 1, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13 and 14. This is the first report applying the Porcine 60 K SNP array for simultaneous analysis of boar taint compounds and related sex hormones, using both GWA and LDLA approaches. Several QTLs are involved in regulation of androstenone and skatole, and most of the QTLs for androstenone are also affecting the levels of estrogens. Seven QTLs for androstenone were detected in one breed and confirmed in the other, i.e. in an independent sample, although the majority of QTLs are breed specific. Most QTLs for skatole do not negatively affect other sex hormones and should be easier to implement into the breeding scheme.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · BMC Genomics
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