Osteocalcin is a major non-collagenous component of the bone extracellular matrix and is considered to be an indicative factor of osteoblast differentiation. In the present study, we detected osteocalcin expression in different antler areas and growth phases by immunohisto- chemistry. Osteocalcin was highly expressed in all areas during the mineralization period and in mesenchymal cell and chondrocyte areas during the rapid growth period. The nucleotide sequence of the osteocalcin gene in sika deer antler was determined. The open reading frame was 303 bp encoding a protein of 100 amino acids. The estimated molecular mass of osteocalcin was 10.38 kDa and the theoretical isoelectric point was 5.37. The osteocalcin gene with a 6× His-tag at the C-terminus was cloned into the pGEX-4T1 vector and expressed in Escherichia coli under optimal conditions. The recombinant soluble protein fused with GST was purified with Ni-NTA resin. The purified osteocalcin protein exhibited a significant increase in HA adhesion and promoted antler chondrocyte proliferation. Osteocalcin is an important factor in regulating the rapid growth and differentiation of deer antlers.
The present study was aimed to establish a novel TaqMan real-time PCR (RTm-PCR) for detecting and typing bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), and also to develop a diagnostic proto- col which simplifies sample collection and processing. Universal primers and TaqMan-MGB probes were designed from the known sequences of conserved 5′ - and 3′-untranslated regions (5’UTR, 3’UTR) of the NADL strain of BVDV. Prior to optimizing the assay, cDNAs were tran- scribed in vitro to make standard curves. The sensitivity, specificity and stability (reproducibility) were evaluated. The RTm-PCR was tested on the 312 feces specimens collected from persistently infected (PI) calves. The results showed the optimum conditions for RTm-PCR were 17.0 μmol/L primer, 7.5 μmol/L probe and 51.4°C annealing temperature. The established TaqMan RTm-PCR assay could specially detect BVDV without detecting any other viruses. Its detection limit was 1.55×100 copies/μL for viral RNA. It was 10000-fold higher than conventional PCR with excel- lent specificity and reproducibility. 312 samples were tested using this method and universal PCR from six dairy farms, respectively. Positive detections were found in 49 and 44 feces samples, respectively. The occurrence rate was 89.80%. In conclusion, the established TaqMan RTm-PCR could rapidly detect BVDV and effectively identify PI cattle. The detection limit of RTm-PCR was 1.55 copies/μL. It will be beneficial for enhancing diagnosis and therapy efficacy and reduce losses in cattle farms.