Longissimus Dorsi Muscle Transcriptomic Analysis of Yunling and Chinese Simmental Cattle Differing in Intramuscular Fat Content and Fatty Acid Composition

Zhang HM, Xia HL, Jiang HR, Mao YJ, Qu KX, Huang BZ, Gong YC, Yang ZP

Genome 2018 Jun;

PMID: 29883552


Intramuscular fat (IMF) content and fatty acid (FA) composition vary significantly across beef cattle breeds, which play important roles in taste and nutritional value. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these phenotypic differences remain unknown. The present study compared meat quality traits between Yunling cattle and Chinese Simmental cattle. Yunling cattle showed a lower IMF content and proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), as well as higher proportions of saturated fatty acids (SFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and short chain fatty acids (sc-FA) in the longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle than Chinese Simmental cattle. To further identify the candidate genes and pathways responsible for these phenotypic differences, the transcriptome of LD muscle from the two breeds were measured using RNA-seq. A total of 1,347 differentially expressed genes were identified. The major metabolic pathways that were differentially modulated were lipolysis and glycometabolism. Yunling cattle showed a higher expression of lipolysis genes (ALDH9A1, ACSL5, ACADM, ACAT2, ACOT2) and a lower expression of genes related to glycometabolism (PGM1, GALM, PGM1, GPI, LDHA). This research identified candidate genes and pathways for IMF content and FA composition in the LD muscle of beef cattle, which may facilitate the design of new selection strategies to improve meat quality.