Despite the economic interest of the fatty acid profile in pigs, no gene has been convincingly associated with this trait so far. Here, the porcine microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP) gene, which plays a crucial role in the assembly of nascent lipoproteins, has been analysed as a positional candidate gene for a QTL affecting the fatty acid composition that was previously identified on chromosome 8 in an Iberian by Landrace F2 cross. By resequencing a panel of different breeds, a non-synonymous polymorphism in a conserved residue of the lipid transfer domain of MTTP was identified. Association analyses with this polymorphism showed a strong association with the fatty acid composition of porcine fat, much stronger than the QTL effect, in the F2 cross and in a synthetic Sino-European line. In addition, in vitro activity assays in liver protein extracts have shown that this mutation is also associated with the lipid transfer activity of the MTTP protein (P < 0.1). These results suggest that the detected polymorphism is a potential causal factor of the fatty acid composition QTL. There appears to be an interaction between the porcine MTTP genotype and the type of fat source in the pig diet, which would agree with the previous results on the biology of MTTP biology. © 2009 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics.
- Fatty acid composition
- Protein activity