Identification of protein-damaging mutations in 10 swine taste receptors and 191 appetite-reward genes

Alex Clop, Abdoallah Sharaf, Anna Castelló, Sebastián Ramos-Onsins, Susanna Cirera, Anna Mercadé, Sophia Derdak, Sergi Beltran, Abe Huisman, Merete Fredholm, Pieter van As, Armand Sánchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 The Author(s). Background: Taste receptors (TASRs) are essential for the body's recognition of chemical compounds. In the tongue, TASRs sense the sweet and umami and the toxin-related bitter taste thus promoting a particular eating behaviour. Moreover, their relevance in other organs is now becoming evident. In the intestine, they regulate nutrient absorption and gut motility. Upon ligand binding, TASRs activate the appetite-reward circuitry to signal the nervous system and keep body homeostasis. With the aim to identify genetic variation in the swine TASRs and in the genes from the appetite and the reward pathways, we have sequenced the exons of 201 TASRs and appetite-reward genes from 304 pigs belonging to ten breeds, wild boars and to two phenotypically extreme groups from a F2 resource with data on growth and fat deposition. Results: We identified 2,766 coding variants 395 of which were predicted to have a strong impact on protein sequence and function. 334 variants were present in only one breed and at predicted alternative allele frequency (pAAF)≥0.1. The Asian pigs and the wild boars showed the largest proportion of breed specific variants. We also compared the pAAF of the two F2 groups and found that variants in TAS2R39 and CD36 display significant differences suggesting that these genes could influence growth and fat deposition. We developed a 128-variant genotyping assay and confirmed 57 of these variants. Conclusions: We have identified thousands of variants affecting TASRs as well as genes involved in the appetite and the reward mechanisms. Some of these genes have been already associated to taste preferences, appetite or behaviour in humans and mouse. We have also detected indications of a potential relationship of some of these genes with growth and fat deposition, which could have been caused by changes in taste preferences, appetite or reward and ultimately impact on food intake. A genotyping array with 57 variants in 31 of these genes is now available for genotyping and start elucidating the impact of genetic variation in these genes on pig biology and breeding.
Original languageEnglish
Article number685
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2016


  • Appetite-reward pathways
  • Coding genetic variation
  • Future association studies
  • Genotyping array
  • Taste receptors


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