Association of N-terminal domain polymorphisms of the porcine glucocorticoid receptor with carcass composition and meat quality traits

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SummaryThe glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is a ubiquitously acting transcription factor that is responsible for mediating the physiological response to stress and adaptation to environmental conditions. Genetic variation of a GR gene (NR3C1) may therefore contribute to multiple phenotypic alterations and influence relevant traits of animal production. Here, we examined effects of two non-synonymous mutations of the porcine NR3C1, leading to amino acid exchanges p.Glu13Asp (c.39A>C) and p.Val19Leu (c.55G>C) in the N-terminal domain of the GR, on meat quality and carcass composition. In addition, we explored their influence on transcriptional activity of GR in vitro. A commercial crossbreed Pietrain × (German Large White × German Landrace) herd (n = 545) in which genotypes and relevant traits had been collected was used to perform the association analysis. The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) c.55G>C was significantly associated with conductivity and meat color scores. These effects were highly consistent considering the physiological relationship between these traits. Association analysis of SNP c.39A>C also revealed significant effects on closely connected meat quality traits. In addition, SNP c.55G>C showed association with carcass traits, mainly those related to muscle deposition. The molecular mechanism of action of both amino acid substitutions remains obscure because neither showed significant influence on transcriptional activity of GR. Our study emphasizes NR3C1 as an important candidate gene for muscle-related traits in pigs, but further work is necessary to clarify the molecular background of the identified associations.

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