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RNA-Seq Analysis of Abdominal Fat Reveals Differences between Modern Commercial Broiler Chickens with High and Low Feed Efficiencies
PLoS One
  • Zhu Zhuo, University of Delaware
  • Susan J. Lamont, Iowa State University
  • Willaim R. Lee, Maple Leaf Farms, Inc.
  • Behnam Abasht, University of Delaware
Document Type
Publication Version
Published Version
Publication Date
10.1371/journal. pone.0135810
For economic and environmental reasons, chickens with superior feed efficiency (FE) are preferred in the broiler chicken industry. High FE (HFE) chickens typically have reduced abdominal fat, the major adipose tissue in chickens. In addition to its function of energy storage, adipose tissue is a metabolically active organ that also possesses endocrine and immune regulatory functions. It plays a central role in maintaining energy homeostasis. Comprehensive understanding of the gene expression in the adipose tissue and the biological basis of FE are of significance to optimize selection and breeding strategies. Through gene expression profiling of abdominal fat from high and low FE (LFE) commercial broiler chickens, the present study aimed to characterize the differences of gene expression between HFE and LFE chickens. mRNA-seq analysis was carried out on the total RNA of abdominal fat from 10 HFE and 12 LFE commercial broiler chickens, and 1.48 billion of 75-base sequence reads were generated in total. On average, 11,565 genes were expressed (>5 reads/gene/sample) in the abdominal fat tissue, of which 286 genes were differentially expressed (DE) at q (False Discover Rate) < 0.05 and fold change > 1.3 between HFE and LFE chickens. Expression levels from RNA-seq were confirmed with the NanoString nCounter analysis system. Functional analysis showed that the DE genes were significantly (p < 0.01) enriched in lipid metabolism, coagulation, and immune regulation pathways. Specifically, the LFE chickens had higher expression of lipid synthesis genes and lower expression of triglyceride hydrolysis and cholesterol transport genes. In conclusion, our study reveals the overall differences of gene expression in the abdominal fat from HFE and LFE chickens, and the results suggest that the divergent expression of lipid metabolism genes represents the major differences.

This article is from PLoS One 10 (2015): e0135810, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0135810. Posted with permission.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Copyright Owner
Zhu Zhao, et al
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Citation Information
Zhu Zhuo, Susan J. Lamont, Willaim R. Lee and Behnam Abasht. "RNA-Seq Analysis of Abdominal Fat Reveals Differences between Modern Commercial Broiler Chickens with High and Low Feed Efficiencies" PLoS One Vol. 10 Iss. 8 (2015) p. 1 - 16
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