Intramuscular fat (IMF) or intramuscular triglycerides are interspersed throughout the skeletal muscles. The IMF, also called marbling, imparts meat with flavor and juiciness and is one of the core criteria for judging carcass value. The quantity of IMF is influenced entirely by genetics. Recently, understanding the underlying genetic bases of IMF has been a focus particularly in the beef industry.
CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBPα) is an essential transcription factor, regulating the differentiation of adipocytes. We cloned the complete open reading frame of C/EBPα gene of Qinchuan cattle and analyzed its protein structures and expression profile in 15 tissues via DNA cloning, sequencing and RT-PCR. Analysis of the putative protein sequences revealed that C/EBPα consists of alpha helices, random coils and a few extended strands. A significant transmembrane structure was observed in amino acid region 233 to 252.