Identification of a missense variant in the porcine AGPAT gene family associated with intramuscular fat content through whole-genome sequencing
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The 1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate O-acyltransferases (AGPATs) are enzymes that catalyze the conversion of lysophosphatidic acid to phosphatidic acid, which is a precursor of triacylglycerol, the main fat reservoir in mammals. We used whole-genome sequencing of 205 pigs to identify 6639 genetic variants in the porcine AGPAT gene family. Of these, 166 common variants in the AGPAT5 gene had significant associations with fat content and composition traits. We preselected a missense single nucleotide polymorphism in exon 6 of AGPAT5 (rs196952262, A>G) for validation of its associations in 1034 pigs from the same Duroc line. The A allele showed a positive additive effect for intramuscular fat content (+1.12% ± 0.21, p < 0.001, for gluteus medius and +0.89% ± 0.33, p < 0.01, for longissimus). We also observed significant associations with fatty acid composition that were, at least in part, independent of the increased intramuscular fat. The A allele resulted in more monounsaturated fatty acids (+0.34% ± 0.15, p < 0.05, for longissimus) and a greater monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fatty acids ratio (+0.11 ± 0.04, p < 0.01, for gluteus medius and +0.13 ± 0.05, p < 0.05, for longissimus). The effect of the AGPAT5 variant on intramuscular fat was more noticeable in fatter pigs, and AGPAT5 interacts with other genes that affect overall fatness such as LEPR. AGPAT5 was the most expressed gene of the AGPAT family in pig skeletal muscle. This variant can be used as a marker in assisted selection for modulating pig fat deposition and fatty acid content.