CRISPR/Cas9-mediated Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase 1 (SCD1) Deficiency Affects Fatty Acid Metabolism in Goat Mammary Epithelial Cells

J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Sep 26;66(38):10041-10052. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b03545. Epub 2018 Sep 17.


Stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) is a fatty acid desaturase catalyzing cis-double-bond formation in the Δ9 position to produce monounsaturated fatty acids essential for the synthesis of milk fat. Previous studies using RNAi methods have provided support for a role of SCD1 in goat mammary epithelial cells (GMEC); however, RNAi presents several limitations that might preclude a truthful understanding of the biological function of SCD1. To explore the function of SCD1 on fatty acid metabolism in GMEC, we used CRISPR-Cas9-mediated SCD1 knockout through non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) and homology-directed repair (HDR) pathways in GMEC. We successfully introduced nucleotide deletions and mutations in the SCD1 gene locus through the NHEJ pathway and disrupted its second exon via insertion of an EGFP-PuroR segment using the HDR pathway. In clones derived from the latter, gene- and protein-expression data indicated that we obtained a monoallelic SCD1 knockout. A T7EN1-mediated assay revealed no off-targets in the surveyed sites. The contents of triacylglycerol and cholesterol and the desaturase index were significantly decreased as a consequence of SCD1 knockout. The deletion of SCD1 decreased the expression of other genes involved in de novo fatty acid synthesis, including SREBF1 and FASN, as well the fatty acid transporters FABP3 and FABP4. The downregulation of these genes partly explains the decrease of intracellular triacylglycerols. Our results indicate a successful SCD1 knockout in goat mammary cells using CRISPR-Cas9. The demonstration of the successful use of CRISPR-Cas9 in GMEC is an important step to producing transgenic goats to study mammary biology in vivo.

Keywords: CRISPR−Cas9; HDR; NHEJ; SCD1; goat mammary epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems
  • Epithelial Cells / enzymology*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Knockout Techniques / methods*
  • Goats / genetics*
  • Goats / metabolism
  • Lipogenesis
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / enzymology*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / metabolism
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase / deficiency*
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase / genetics
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / genetics
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Triglycerides
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase