Effects of the SLICK1 mutation in PRLR on regulation of core body temperature and global gene expression in liver in cattle

Froylan Sosa, José E.P. Santos, D. Owen Rae, Colleen C. Larson, Marissa Macchietto, Juan E. Abrahante, Thiago F. Amaral, Anna C. Denicol, Tad S. Sonstegard, Peter J. Hansen

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5 Scopus citations


The SLICK1 mutation in bovine PRLR (c.1382del; rs517047387) is a deletion mutation resulting in a protein with a truncated intracellular domain. Cattle carrying at least one allele have a phenotype characterized by a short hair coat (slick phenotype) and increased resistance to heat stress. Given the pleiotropic nature of prolactin, the mutation may affect other physiological characteristics. The liver is one organ that could potentially be affected because of the expression of PRLR. The mutation is a dominant allele, and heterozygous animals have a similar hair coat to that of animals homozygous for the mutation. Present objectives were to determine whether inheritance of the SLICK1 mutation affects liver gene expression and if animals homozygous for the SLICK1 allele differ from heterozygotes in liver gene expression and regulation of body temperature during heat stress. In one experiment, rectal and ruminal temperatures were less for Holstein heifers that were heterozygous for the SLICK1 allele compared with wildtype heifers. There were 71 differentially expressed genes in liver, with 13 upregulated and 58 downregulated in SLICK1 heterozygotes. Among the ontologies characteristic of differentially expressed genes were those related to immune function and fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. In a prospective cohort study conducted with adult Senepol cattle, body temperature and hepatic gene expression were compared between animals heterozygous or homozygous for the SLICK1 mutation. There were no differences in ruminal temperatures between genotypes, rectal temperature was higher in animals homozygous for the SLICK1 mutation, and there was only one gene in liver that was differentially expressed. It was concluded that inheritance of the SLICK1 allele can exert functional changes beyond those related to hair growth although changes in liver gene expression were not extensive. Results are also consistent with the SLICK1 allele being dominant because there were few differences in phenotype between animals inheriting one or two copies of the allele.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100523
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research was funded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (grant number CA19-SS-0000000119), Holstein Association USA, Inc., Acceligen, Semex, and L.E. “Red” Larson Endowment.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Bovine
  • Prolactin
  • Prolactin receptor
  • Thermoregulation
  • Thermotolerance


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