Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Animal and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. James C. Matthews

Abstract

The first goal of the current research was to determine whether gene expression profiles differed between whole pituitaries of growing beef steers grazing pastures containing high (HE) or low (LE) amounts of toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue. The global (microarray analysis) and selected targeted (RT-PCR) mRNA expression patterns of pituitaries collected from beef steers (BW = 266 ± 15.5 kg) that had been randomly assigned to undergo summer-long grazing (89 to 105 d) of either HE (0.52 ppm ergot alkaloids) or LE (< 0.03 ppm ergot alkaloids) pastures were compared. Gene expression data were subjected to one-way ANOVA. The pituitaries of HE steers had 542 differentially expressed genes, and the pattern of altered gene expression was dependent on treatment. Targeted RT-PCR analysis corroborated these findings, including decreased expression of DRD2, PRL, POU1F1, GAL, and VIP and that of POMC and PCSK1, respectively. Canonical pathway analysis (Integrated Pathway Analysis, IPA) identified HE-dependent alteration in signaling of additional pituitary-derived hormones, including growth hormone and GnRH. In conclusion, consumption of endophyte-infected tall fescue alters the pituitary transcriptome profiles of steers in a manner consistent with their negatively affected physiological parameters. The second goal of this project was to test the hypothesis that sodium selenite (ISe), SEL-PLEX (OSe), vs. a 1:1 blend (MIX) of ISe and OSe in a basal vitamin-mineral (VM) mix would differentially alter pituitary transcriptome profiles in growing beef steers (BW = 183 ± 34 kg) commonly grazing an endophyte-infected tall fescue (HE) pasture. Steers were randomly selected from herds of fall-calving cows grazing HE pasture and consuming VM mixes that contained 35 ppm Se as either ISe, OSe, or MIX forms. Steers were weaned, depleted of Se for 98 d, and subjected to summer-long common grazing of a 10.1 ha HE pasture containing 0.51 ppm ergot alkaloids. Steers were assigned (n = 8) to the same Se-form treatments on which they were raised. Selenium treatments were administered by daily top-dressing 85 g of VM mix onto 0.23 kg soyhulls, using in-pasture Calan gates. Pituitaries were collected at slaughter and changes in global (microarray) and selected (RT-PCR) mRNA expression patterns determined. The effects of Se treatment on relative gene expression were subjected to one-way ANOVA. The form of Se affected the expression of 542 annotated genes. Integrated Pathway Analysis found a canonical pathway network between prolactin and POMC/ACTH/ α-MSH synthesis-related proteins, and that mitochondrial dysfunction was a top-affected canonical pathway. Targeted RT-PCR analysis found that the relative abundance of mRNA encoding prolactin and POMC/ACTH/ α-MSH synthesis-related proteins was affected by the form of Se, as were mitochondrial dysfunction-related proteins OSe steers appeared to have a greater prolactin synthesis capacity vs. ISe steers through decreased dopamine receptor D2 signaling, whereas MIX steers had a greater prolactin synthesis capacity and release potential by increasing TRH concentrations than ISe steers. OSe steers also had a greater ACTH and α-MSH synthesis potential than ISe steers. We conclude that form of Se in VM mixes affected genes responsible for prolactin and POMC/ACTH/α-MSH synthesis, and mitochondrial function in pituitaries of growing beef steers commonly grazing an HE pasture. The third goal was to test the hypothesis that sodium selenite (ISe), SEL-PLEX (OSe), vs. a 1:1 blend (MIX) of ISe and OSe in a basal vitamin-mineral (VM) mix would differentially alter selenoprotein profiles in pituitaries and livers of growing beef steers commonly grazing an endophyte-infected tall fescue (HE) pasture (i.e., the same steers used in Goal 2). The effects of Se treatment on relative gene expression were subjected to one-way ANOVA. The mRNA content of 6 selenoproteins in the pituitary was affected by Se treatments, along with two selenoprotein P receptors, whereas the expression of two selenoproteins was altered in the liver. We conclude that the change in selenoprotein gene expression in pituitaries indicates that OSe steers have a greater potential capacity to manage against oxidative damage, maintain cellular redox balance, and have a better quality control of protein-folding in their pituitaries than ISe steers. The change in selenoprotein gene expression by the liver indicates that MIX steers have a greater redox signaling capacity and capacity to manage oxidative damage than ISe steers.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2019.035

Funding Information

This work is supported by a United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Cooperative Agreement (JCM) and by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hatch project No. 1010352.

Share

COinS