Molecular Characterization and Tissue Distribution of Estrogen Receptor Genes in Domestic Yak

  • Fu, Mei (College of Life Science and Technology, Southwest University for Nationalities) ;
  • Xiong, Xian-Rong (College of Life Science and Technology, Southwest University for Nationalities) ;
  • Lan, Dao-Liang (Institute of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Southwest University for Nationalities) ;
  • Li, Jian (College of Life Science and Technology, Southwest University for Nationalities)
  • Received : 2014.05.20
  • Accepted : 2014.07.14
  • Published : 2014.12.01


Estrogen and its receptors are essential hormones for normal reproductive function in males and females during developmental stage. To better understand the effect of estrogen receptor (ER) gene in yak (Bos grunniens), reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was carried out to clone $ER{\alpha}$ and $ER{\beta}$ genes. Bioinformatics methods were used to analyze the evolutionary relationship between yaks and other species, and real-time PCR was performed to identify the mRNA expression of $ER{\alpha}$ and $ER{\beta}$. Sequence analysis showed that the ER open reading frames (ORFs) encoded 596 and 527 amino acid proteins. The yak $ER{\alpha}$ and $ER{\beta}$ shared 45.3% to 99.5% and 53.9% to 99.1% protein sequence identities with other species homologs, respectively. Real-time PCR analysis revealed that $ER{\alpha}$ and $ER{\beta}$ were expressed in a variety of tissues, but the expression level of $ER{\alpha}$ was higher than that of $ER{\beta}$ in all tissues, except testis. The mRNA expression of $ER{\alpha}$ was highest in the mammary gland, followed by uterus, oviduct, and ovary, and lowest in the liver, kidney, lung, testis, spleen, and heart. The $ER{\beta}$ mRNA level was highest in the ovary; intermediary in the uterus and oviduct; and lowest in the heart, liver, spleen, lung, kidney, mammary gland, and testis. The identification and tissue distribution of ER genes in yaks provides a foundation for the further study on their biological functions.


Yak;Estrogen Receptor Gene;Gene Expression;Tissue Distribution


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