This study examines the genes coding for enzymes involved in bovine milk oligosaccharide metabolism by comparing the oligosaccharide profiles with the expressions of glycosylation-related genes. Fresh milk samples (n = 32) were collected from four Holstein and Jersey cows at days 1, 15, 90 and 250 of lactation and free milk oligosaccharide profiles were analyzed. RNA was extracted from milk somatic cells at days 15 and 250 of lactation (n = 12) and gene expression analysis was conducted by RNA-Sequencing. A list was created of 121 glycosylation-related genes involved in oligosaccharide metabolism pathways in bovine by analyzing the oligosaccharide profiles and performing an extensive literature search. No significant differences were observed in either oligosaccharide profiles or expressions of glycosylation-related genes between Holstein and Jersey cows. The highest concentrations of free oligosaccharides were observed in the colostrum samples and a sharp decrease was observed in the concentration of free oligosaccharides on day 15, followed by progressive decrease on days 90 and 250. Ninety-two glycosylation-related genes were expressed in milk somatic cells. Most of these genes exhibited higher expression in day 250 samples indicating increases in net glycosylation-related metabolism in spite of decreases in free milk oligosaccharides in late lactation milk. Even though fucosylated free oligosaccharides were not identified, gene expression indicated the likely presence of fucosylated oligosaccharides in bovine milk. Fucosidase genes were expressed in milk and a possible explanation for not detecting fucosylated free oligosaccharides is the degradation of large fucosylated free oligosaccharides by the fucosidases. Detailed characterization of enzymes encoded by the 92 glycosylation-related genes identified in this study will provide the basic knowledge for metabolic network analysis of oligosaccharides in mammalian milk. These candidate genes will guide the design of a targeted breeding strategy to optimize the content of beneficial oligosaccharides in bovine milk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)