Genes regulating lipid and protein metabolism are highly expressed in mammary gland of lactating dairy goats

Hengbo Shi, Jiangjiang Zhu, Jun Luo, Wenting Cao, Huaiping Shi, Dawei Yao, Jun Li, Yuting Sun, Huifen Xu, Kang Yu, Juan J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dairy goats serve as an important source of milk and also fulfill agricultural and economic roles in developing countries. Understanding the genetic background of goat mammary gland is important for research on the regulatory mechanisms controlling tissue function and the synthesis of milk components. We collected tissue at four different stages of goat mammary gland development and generated approximately 25 GB of data from Illumina de novo RNA sequencing. The combined reads were assembled into 51,361 unigenes, and approximately 60.07 % of the unigenes had homology to other proteins in the NCBI non-redundant protein database (NR). Functional classification through eukaryotic Ortholog Groups of Protein (KOG), gene ontology (GO), and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) revealed that the unigenes from goat mammary glands are involved in a wide range of biological processes and metabolic pathways, including lipid metabolism and lactose metabolism. The results of qPCR revealed that genes encoding FABP3, FASN, SCD, PLIN2, whey proteins (LALBA and BLG), and caseins (CSN1S1, CSN1S2, CSN2 and CSN3) at 100 and 310 days postpartum increased significantly compared with the non-lactating period. In addition to their role in lipid and protein synthesis, the higher expression at 310 days postpartum could contribute to mammary cell turnover during pregnancy. In conclusion, this is the first study to characterize the complete transcriptome of goat mammary glands and constitutes a comprehensive genomic resource available for further studies of ruminant lactation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-321
Number of pages13
JournalFunctional and Integrative Genomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Fatty acid
  • Goat
  • Milk
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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