Different approaches to identify markers for meat quality and production traits in pigs: analysis of the transcriptome in post mortem skeletal muscle and investigation of candidate genes

Colombo, Michela (2010) Different approaches to identify markers for meat quality and production traits in pigs: analysis of the transcriptome in post mortem skeletal muscle and investigation of candidate genes, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze zootecniche, 22 Ciclo.
Documenti full-text disponibili:
[img] Documento PDF (English) - Accesso riservato - Richiede un lettore di PDF come Xpdf o Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (1MB)


Due to the growing attention of consumers towards their food, improvement of quality of animal products has become one of the main focus of research. To this aim, the application of modern molecular genetics approaches has been proved extremely useful and effective. This innovative drive includes all livestock species productions, including pork. The Italian pig breeding industry is unique because needs heavy pigs slaughtered at about 160 kg for the production of high quality processed products. For this reason, it requires precise meat quality and carcass characteristics. Two aspects have been considered in this thesis: the application of the transcriptome analysis in post mortem pig muscles as a possible method to evaluate meat quality parameters related to the pre mortem status of the animals, including health, nutrition, welfare, and with potential applications for product traceability (chapters 3 and 4); the study of candidate genes for obesity related traits in order to identify markers associated with fatness in pigs that could be applied to improve carcass quality (chapters 5, 6, and 7). Chapter three addresses the first issue from a methodological point of view. When we considered this issue, it was not obvious that post mortem skeletal muscle could be useful for transcriptomic analysis. Therefore we demonstrated that the quality of RNA extracted from skeletal muscle of pigs sampled at different post mortem intervals (20 minutes, 2 hours, 6 hours, and 24 hours) is good for downstream applications. Degradation occurred starting from 48 h post mortem even if at this time it is still possible to use some RNA products. In the fourth chapter, in order to demonstrate the potential use of RNA obtained up to 24 hours post mortem, we present the results of RNA analysis with the Affymetrix microarray platform that made it possible to assess the level of expression of more of 24000 mRNAs. We did not identify any significant differences between the different post mortem times suggesting that this technique could be applied to retrieve information coming from the transcriptome of skeletal muscle samples not collected just after slaughtering. This study represents the first contribution of this kind applied to pork. In the fifth chapter, we investigated as candidate for fat deposition the TBC1D1 [TBC1 (tre-2/USP6, BUB2, cdc16) gene. This gene is involved in mechanisms regulating energy homeostasis in skeletal muscle and is associated with predisposition to obesity in humans. By resequencing a fragment of the TBC1D1 gene we identified three synonymous mutations localized in exon 2 (g.40A>G, g.151C>T, and g.172T>C) and 2 polymorphisms localized in intron 2 (g.219G>A and g.252G>A). One of these polymorphisms (g.219G>A) was genotyped by high resolution melting (HRM) analysis and PCR-RFLP. Moreover, this gene sequence was mapped by radiation hybrid analysis on porcine chromosome 8. The association study was conducted in 756 performance tested pigs of Italian Large White and Italian Duroc breeds. Significant results were obtained for lean meat content, back fat thickness, visible intermuscular fat and ham weight. In chapter six, a second candidate gene (tribbles homolog 3, TRIB3) is analyzed in a study of association with carcass and meat quality traits. The TRIB3 gene is involved in energy metabolism of skeletal muscle and plays a role as suppressor of adipocyte differentiation. We identified two polymorphisms in the first coding exon of the porcine TRIB3 gene, one is a synonymous SNP (c.132T> C), a second is a missense mutation (c.146C> T, p.P49L). The two polymorphisms appear to be in complete linkage disequilibrium between and within breeds. The in silico analysis of the p.P49L substitution suggests that it might have a functional effect. The association study in about 650 pigs indicates that this marker is associated with back fat thickness in Italian Large White and Italian Duroc breeds in two different experimental designs. This polymorphisms is also associated with lactate content of muscle semimembranosus in Italian Large White pigs. Expression analysis indicated that this gene is transcribed in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue as well as in other tissues. In the seventh chapter, we reported the genotyping results for of 677 SNPs in extreme divergent groups of pigs chosen according to the extreme estimated breeding values for back fat thickness. SNPs were identified by resequencing, literature mining and in silico database mining. analysis, data reported in the literature of 60 candidates genes for obesity. Genotyping was carried out using the GoldenGate (Illumina) platform. Of the analyzed SNPs more that 300 were polymorphic in the genotyped population and had minor allele frequency (MAF) >0.05. Of these SNPs, 65 were associated (P<0.10) with back fat thickness. One of the most significant gene marker was the same TBC1D1 SNPs reported in chapter 5, confirming the role of this gene in fat deposition in pig. These results could be important to better define the pig as a model for human obesity other than for marker assisted selection to improve carcass characteristics.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Colombo, Michela
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze agrarie
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
26 Aprile 2010

Altri metadati

Gestione del documento: Visualizza la tesi