Six genes involved in the heparan sulfate and heparin metabolism pathway, DSEL (dermatan sulfate epimerase-like), EXTL1 (exostoses (multiple)-like 1), HS6ST1 (heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase 1), HS6ST3 (heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase 3), NDST3 (N-deacetylase/N-sulfotransferase (heparan glucosaminyl) 3), and SULT1A1 (sulfotransferase family, cytosolic, 1A, phenol-preferring, member 1), were investigated for their associations with muscle lipid composition using cattle as a model organism. Nineteen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)/multiple nucleotide length polymorphisms (MNLPs) were identified in five of these six genes. Six of these mutations were then genotyped on 246 Wagyu x Limousin F2 animals, which were measured for 5 carcass, 6 eating quality and 8 fatty acid composition traits. Association analysis revealed that DSEL, EXTL1 and HS6ST1 significantly affected two stearoyl-CoA desaturase activity indices, the amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and the relative amount of saturated fatty acids (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) in skeletal muscle (P<0.05). In particular, HS6ST1 joined our previously reported SCD1 and UQCRC1 genes to form a three gene network for one of the stearoyl-CoA desaturase activity indices. These results provide evidence that genes involved in heparan sulfate and heparin metabolism are also involved in regulation of lipid metabolism in bovine muscle. Whether the SNPs affected heparan sulfate proteoglycan structure is unknown and warrants further investigation
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