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Open Access Research article

Characterization, expression profiles, intracellular distribution and association analysis of porcine PNAS-4 gene with production traits

Delin Mo12, Zhengmao Zhu3, Marinus FW te Pas4, Xinyun Li1, Shulin Yang1, Heng Wang1, Huanling Wang1 and Kui Li1*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Beijing 100094, PR China

2 School of Life Science, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510006, PR China

3 Department of Genetics and Cell biology, College of life sciences, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, PR China

4 Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Lelystad, The Netherlands P.O. Box 65, 8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands

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BMC Genetics 2008, 9:40  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-9-40

Published: 30 June 2008



In a previous screen to identify differentially expressed genes associated with embryonic development, the porcine PNAS-4 gene had been found. Considering differentially expressed genes in early stages of muscle development are potential candidate genes to improve meat quality and production efficiency, we determined how porcine PNAS-4 gene regulates meat production. Therefore, this gene has been sequenced, expression analyzed and associated with meat production traits.


We cloned the full-length cDNA of porcine PNAS-4 gene encoding a protein of 194 amino acids which was expressed in the Golgi complex. This gene was mapped to chromosome 10, q11–16, in a region of conserved synteny with human chromosome 1 where the human homologous gene was localized. Real-time PCR revealed that PNAS-4 mRNA was widely expressed with highest expression levels in skeletal muscle followed by lymph, liver and other tissues, and showed a down-regulated expression pattern during prenatal development while a up-regulated expression pattern after weaning. Association analysis revealed that allele C of SNP A1813C was prevalent in Chinese indigenous breeds whereas A was dominant allele in Landrace and Large White, and the pigs with homozygous CC had a higher fat content than those of the pigs with other genotypes (P < 0.05).


Porcine PNAS-4 protein tagged with green fluorescent protein accumulated in the Golgi complex, and its mRNA showed a widespread expression across many tissues and organs in pigs. It may be an important factor affecting the meat production efficiency, because its down-regulated expression pattern during early embryogenesis suggests involvement in increase of muscle fiber number. In addition, the SNP A1813C associated with fat traits might be a genetic marker for molecular-assisted selection in animal breeding.