Phosphorylation of caseins (CN) is a crucial post-translational modification that allows caseins to form colloid particles known as casein micelles. Both αS1- and αS2-CN show varying degrees of phosphorylation (isoforms) in cow milk and were suggested to be more relevant for stabilizing internal micellar structure than β- and κ-CN. However, little is known about the genetic background of individual αS2-CN phosphorylation isoforms and the phosphorylation degrees of αS1- and αS2-CN (αS1-CN PD and αS2-CN PD), defined as the proportion of isoforms with higher degrees of phosphorylation in total αS1- and αS2-CN, respectively. We aimed to identify genomic regions associated with these traits using 50K single nucleotide polymorphisms for 1,857 Dutch Holstein Friesian cows. A total of 10 quantitative trait loci (QTL) regions were identified for all studied traits on 10 Bos taurus autosomes (BTA1, 2, 6, 9, 11, 14, 15, 18, 24, and 28). Regions associated with multiple traits were found on BTA1, 6, 11, and 14. We showed 2 QTL regions on BTA1, one affecting αS2-CN production and the other harboring the SLC37A1 gene, which encodes a phosphorus antiporter and affects αS1- and αS2-CN PD. The QTL on BTA6 harbors the casein gene cluster and affects individual αS2-CN phosphorylation isoforms. The QTL on BTA11 harbors the PAEP gene that encodes for β-lactoglobulin and affects relative concentrations of αS2-CN-10P and αS2-CN-11P as well as αS1-CN PD and αS2-CN PD. The QTL on BTA14 harbors the DGAT1 gene and affects relative concentrations of αS2-CN-10P and αS2-CN-11P as well as αS1-CN PD and αS2-CN PD. Our results suggest that effects of identified genomic regions on phosphorylation of αS1- and αS2-CN are related to changes in milk synthesis and phosphorus secretion in milk. The actual roles of SLC37A1, PAEP, and DGAT1 in αS1- and αS2-CN phosphorylation in Dutch Holstein Friesian require further investigation.
- milk protein composition
- post-translational modification
- quantitative trait loci