Besides the caseins and major whey proteins, cows’ milk contains a wide range of less abundant proteins that have functions associated with host defence, and are thought to play a role in protection against microbial infections (Stelwagen et al. 2009; Wheeler et al. 2007). Microarray analysis has shown that complex changes in gene expression occur in the bovine mammary gland in response to drying-off, including up-regulation of host-defence associated genes (Singh et al. 2008). The abundance of at least some proteins encoded by these genes can be altered in response to milking frequency and at different stages of the lactation cycle.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 72, Christchurch, 240-242, 2012
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