In silico mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTL) regulating the milk ionome in mice identifies a milk iron locus on chromosome 1. Academic Article uri icon


  • The breast-feeding neonate depends on mother's milk for both macronutrients and micronutrients including minerals. The goals of the present study were to document the effects of genetic background in mice on milk concentrations of select minerals and to use genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) regulating milk mineral concentrations. Milk samples from lactating mice in each of 31 different inbred strains of the mouse diversity panel(MDP) were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy to determine the concentrations of calcium (Ca), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), and zinc (Zn). GWAS identified a single pleiotropic milk mineral concentration QTL (Mmcq) on chromosome 3 for Ca, Mg, and P. For the remaining minerals, six QTL were detected for Fe, four for K, three for Zn, and one for S. Intersecting the Mmcq with published chromatin immunoprecipitation sequence data identified 15 out of 4633 high-linkage disequilibrium single-nucleotide polymorphisms that resided in signal transducer and activation of transcription 5 (STAT5) binding regions. A milk Fe-associated locus (Mmcq9) on chromosome 1 contained an SNP that localized to a STAT5 binding region and intersected with a HOMER motif predicted to bind the transcriptional regulator E74-Like ETS transcription factor 5. This locus also contained the genes for solute carrier family (Slc) members Slc9a2, Slc9a4, Slc39a10, and Slc40a1. Expression analysis of these transporters supports the conclusion that Slc9a2 and Slc40a1 within the mammary gland could mediate the effect of Mmcq9 on milk Fe concentration.

published proceedings

  • Mamm Genome

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Hadsell, D. L., Hadsell, L. A., Rijnkels, M., Carcamo-Bahena, Y., Wei, J., Williamson, P., & Grusak, M. A.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Hadsell, Darryl L||Hadsell, Louise A||Rijnkels, Monique||Carcamo-Bahena, Yareli||Wei, Jerry||Williamson, Peter||Grusak, Michael A

publication date

  • January 2018