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Reprod Domest Anim. 2013 Oct;48(5):732-7. doi: 10.1111/rda.12153. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Polymorphism of the melatonin receptor genes and its relationship with seasonal reproduction in the Gulin Ma goat breed.

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College of Bioengineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China.


Melatonin is thought to be the main molecule that transmits the signal of seasonal change to the neuroendocrine system in seasonal breeding species. Melatonin exerts its effects through specific melatonin receptors, MTNR1A and MTNR1B. In the present study, six native goat breeds in China and one introduced goat breed were analysed to investigate the relationship between the genetic polymorphism of receptor genes and seasonal reproduction. Sequencing results showed that there were five polymorphic mutations in the MTNR1A gene and two in the MTNR1B gene. In the MTNR1A gene, genotypes AA, AB and BB for 424C>T and genotypes CC, CD and DD for 589C>A were observed in these goat breeds. In all six native goat breeds, only genotype AA was detected. In the MTNR1B gene, genotypes EE, EF and FF for 1179G>A and genotypes GG, GH and HH for 1529A>G were detected. However, in Gulin Ma goats, the genotypes EE and HH were not found. Moreover, the base of G at position 1179 and A at position 1529 were linked (By Arlequin ver 3.1, Zoological Institute, Berne, Switzerland,,D' = 0.7496, r(2)  = 0.4421, χ(2)  = 489.8679, p = 0.000). Among these mutations, no amino acid change was found in MTNR1A, while both of the mutations in MTNR1B gene caused amino acid changes of R222H and S339G, respectively. The structural analysis showed that the R222H mutation occurred in the first amino acid residue of the third cytoplasmic loop, and the S339G mutation was located in the carboxyl terminus of the protein. In terms of seasonal breeding, all the genotypes we detected showed a similar kidding frequency distribution trend with a higher frequency in May-August than in January-April and in September-December. This suggests that the relationship between the polymorphisms in the MTNR1A and MTNR1B genes and seasonal breeding could not be established.

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