In the lactating mammary gland, prolactin (PRL) stimulates the synthesis of lactose as well as fatty acid uptake, lipogenesis, and triacylglycerol synthesis. Associations between bovine PRL receptor (PRLR) genotype and fat yield have been reported, which illustrates the role of PRL in conveying lipids toward the udder as well as in stimulating their local synthesis during lactation. Conversely, and to the best of our knowledge, the effects of PRLR genotype on milk fatty acid content have not been studied so far in any mammalian species. In this study, we sequenced most of the coding region of the caprine PRLR gene in several individuals from the Malagueña and Murciano-Granadina breeds. This approach allowed us to identify 2 long and short mRNA isoforms, produced by alternative splicing, and 4 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), namely, c.177T>C, c.1131G>A, c.1201G>A and c.1355C>T. Two of these SNPs are nonsynonymous and involve G401R (c.1201G>A) and T452I (c.1355C>T) amino acid substitutions in the cytoplasmic domain of PRLR, which plays a fundamental role in signal transduction. Performance of an association analysis with milk composition traits in a Murciano-Granadina goat population revealed highly suggestive effects on palmitoleic acid content, whereas suggestive effects were detected for other fatty acids, such as palmitic and linoleic. These results are consistent with the pleiotropic effects of PRL on mammary gland lipid metabolism and milk composition.
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