There is growing public concern about reducing saturated fat intake. Stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) is the lipogenic enzyme responsible for the biosynthesis of oleic acid (18:1) by desaturating stearic acid (18:0).
Here we describe a total of 18 mutations in the promoter and 3′ non-coding region of the pig SCD gene and provide evidence that allele T at AY487830:g.2228T>C in the promoter region enhances fat desaturation (the ratio 18:1/18:0 in muscle increases from 3.78 to 4.43 in opposite homozygotes) without affecting fat content (18:0+18:1, intramuscular fat content, and backfat thickness).
No mutations that could affect the functionality of the protein were found in the coding region. First, we proved in a purebred Duroc line that the C-T-A haplotype of the 3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (g.2108C>T; g.2228T>C; g.2281A>G) of the promoter region was additively associated to enhanced 18:1/18:0 both in muscle and subcutaneous fat, but not in liver. We show that this association was consistent over a 10-year period of overlapping generations and, in line with these results, that the C-T-A haplotype displayed greater SCD mRNA expression in muscle. The effect of this haplotype was validated both internally, by comparing opposite homozygote siblings, and externally, by using experimental Duroc-based crossbreds. Second, the g.2281A>G and the g.2108C>T SNPs were excluded as causative mutations using new and previously published data, restricting the causality to g.2228T>C SNP, the last source of genetic variation within the haplotype. This mutation is positioned in the core sequence of several putative transcription factor binding sites, so that there are several plausible mechanisms by which allele T enhances 18:1/18:0 and, consequently, the proportion of monounsaturated to saturated fat.
Estany J, Ros-Freixedes R, Tor M, Pena RN (2014) A Functional Variant in the Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase Gene Promoter Enhances Fatty Acid Desaturation in Pork. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86177. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086177