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Open AccessArticle

Molecular Characterization and Expression Profiles of the Ovine LHβ Gene and Its Association with Litter Size in Chinese Indigenous Small-Tailed Han Sheep

1
College of Animal Science and Technology, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
2
Engineering Laboratory of Sheep Breeding and Reproduction Biotechnology in Gansu Province, Minqin 730020, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(3), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030460
Received: 4 February 2020 / Revised: 28 February 2020 / Accepted: 6 March 2020 / Published: 10 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
Litter size is one of the most important reproductive traits in sheep, and the luteinizing hormone beta polypeptide (LHβ) plays an important role in mammalian follicular development. In this study, we cloned and analyzed the cDNA sequence of the ovine LHβ gene, and the expression patterns of LHβ were determined. Furthermore, the synonymous mutation g.727C > T detected in the LHβ gene was confirmed to be significantly associated with litter size (p < 0.01). These findings support LHβ g.727C > T as a genetic marker for litter size in sheep.
The luteinizing hormone beta polypeptide (LHβ) is a glycoprotein hormone secreted by basophilic granular cells of the adenohypophysis, and plays an important role in mammalian follicular development. In this study, we cloned and analyzed the cDNA sequence of the ovine LHβ gene. RT-qPCR analysis showed that ovine LHβ was widely expressed in tissues, with significantly higher expression in the hypophysis than that in other tissues (heart, liver, spleen, lung, kidney, rumen, duodenum, muscle, fat, hypothalamus, and sex glands) (p < 0.01). Hypophyseal expression of LHβ mRNA in lamb increased with age and reached a peak at 70 days, although a slight decrease was observed at 84 days of age. In addition, the synonymous mutation g.727C > T detected in the LHβ gene was confirmed to be significantly associated with the litter size (p < 0.01). Ewes carrying the TT genotype produced more lambs than those carrying the TC and CC genotypes (0.42 and 0.39 per delivery, respectively; p < 0.05). Our results confirm the association of ovine LHβ with litter size in Small-Tailed Han Sheep and implicate LHβ as a candidate for improving reproductive traits in agricultural sheep breeding programs. View Full-Text
Keywords: LHβ; genetic characteristic; expression profiles; litter size; sheep LHβ; genetic characteristic; expression profiles; litter size; sheep
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Wang, W.; La, Y.; Li, F.; Liu, S.; Pan, X.; Li, C.; Zhang, X. Molecular Characterization and Expression Profiles of the Ovine LHβ Gene and Its Association with Litter Size in Chinese Indigenous Small-Tailed Han Sheep. Animals 2020, 10, 460.

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