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Reproduction is of significant economic importance in dairy cattle. Improved understanding of mechanisms that control estrous behavior and other reproduction traits could help in developing strategies to improve and/or monitor these traits. The objective of this study was to predict and rank genes and processes in brain areas and pituitary involved in reproductive traits in cattle using information derived from three different data sources: gene expression, protein-protein interactions, and literature. We identified 59, 89, 53, 23, and 71 genes in bovine amygdala, dorsal hypothalamus, hippocampus, pituitary, and ventral hypothalamus, respectively, potentially involved in processes underlying estrus and estrous behavior. Functional annotation of the candidate genes points to a number of tissue-specific processes of which the "neurotransmitter/ion channel/synapse" process in the amygdala, "steroid hormone receptor activity/ion binding" in the pituitary, "extracellular region" in the ventral hypothalamus, and "positive regulation of transcription/metabolic process" in the dorsal hypothalamus are most prominent. The regulation of the functional processes in the various tissues operate at different biological levels, including transcriptional, posttranscriptional, extracellular, and intercellular signaling levels.


Ina Hulsegge, Henri Woelders, Mari Smits, Dirkjan Schokker, Li Jiang, Peter Sørensen. Prioritization of candidate genes for cattle reproductive traits, based on protein-protein interactions, gene expression, and text-mining. Physiological genomics. 2013 May 15;45(10):400-6

PMID: 23572538

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