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1.  Forage preservation (grazing vs. hay) fed to ewes affects the fatty acid profile of milk and CPT1B gene expression in the sheep mammary gland 
Alterations in lipid metabolism occur when animals are exposed to different feeding systems. In the last few decades, the characterisation of genes involved in fat metabolism and technological advances have enabled the study of the effect of diet on the milk fatty acid (FA) profile in the mammary gland and aided in the elucidation of the mechanisms of the response to diet. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of different forage diets (grazing vs. hay) near the time of ewe parturition on the relationship between the fatty acid profile and gene expression in the mammary gland of the Churra Tensina sheep breed.
In this study, the forage type affected the C18:2 cis-9 trans-11 (CLA) and long-chain saturated fatty acid (LCFA) content, with higher percentages during grazing than during hay feeding. This may suggest that these FAs act as regulatory factors for the transcriptional control of the carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1B (CPT1B) gene, which was more highly expressed in the grazing group (GRE). The most highly expressed gene in the mammary gland at the fifth week of lactation is CAAT/ enhancer- binding protein beta (CEBPB), possibly due to its role in milk fat synthesis in the mammary gland. More stable housekeeping genes in the ovine mammary gland that would be appropriate for use in gene expression studies were ribosomal protein L19 (RPL19) and glyceraldehyde- 3- phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH).
Small changes in diet, such as the forage preservation (grazing vs. hay), can affect the milk fatty acid profile and the expression of the CPT1B gene, which is associated with the oxidation of fatty acids. When compared to hay fed indoors, grazing fresh low mountain pastures stimulates the milk content of CLA and LCFA via mammary uptake. In this sense, LCFA in milk may be acting as a regulatory factor for transcriptional control of the CPT1B gene, which was more highly expressed in the grazing group.
PMCID: PMC3416728  PMID: 22776723
2.  A SNP in the HSP90AA1 gene 5′ flanking region is associated with the adaptation to differential thermal conditions in the ovine species 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2009;15(1):67-81.
Molecular chaperones have long been understood to be preferentially transcribed in response to multiple perturbations of the cellular homeostasis. In this study, several polymorphisms in the gene encoding the inducible form of the cytoplasmic Hsp90 (HSP90AA1) were addressed in 24 sheep breeds reared in different climatic regions of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Significant differences in the genotype frequencies for a C/G single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located at position −660 in the HSP90AA1 5′flanking region were found between the different breeds. Regression analyses reflected significant correlations (from 0.41 to 0.62) between the alternative genotypes of this polymorphism and several climatic and geographic variables characteristic of the regions where these breeds are reared. Real-time analysis revealed that animals bearing the CC−660 genotype presented higher expression levels than those presenting the CG−660 or GG−660 in summer, but not in spring. Mutation at −660 site seems to affect HSP90AA1 transcription rates which could have important effects on the adaptation to different environmental conditions in sheep. Thus, the variability found in the genotype frequencies for the SNP at −660 in the ovine HSP90AA1 locus could be the result of the different environmental pressures occurring in the regions where these breed are maintained.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12192-009-0123-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2866970  PMID: 19496025
Heat shock genes; Polymorphisms; Expression; Thermal adaptation; Ovine species

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