The transcriptomic blueprint of molt in rooster using various tissues from Ginkkoridak (Korean long-tailed chicken)

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Charton, Clémentine; Youm, Dong-Jae; Ko, Byung June; Seol, Donghyeok; Kim, Bongsang; Chai, Han-Ha; Lim, Dajeong; Kim, Heebal
Issue Date
BMC Genomics. 2021 Aug 05;22(1):594
RNA-SeqMoltTranscriptomicsMicro RNADifferential gene expressionDifferential transcript usage
Annual molt is a critical stage in the life cycle of birds. Although the most extensively documented aspects of molt are the renewing of plumage and the remodeling of the reproductive tract in laying hens, in chicken, molt deeply affects various tissues and physiological functions. However, with exception of the reproductive tract, the effect of molt on gene expression across the tissues known to be affected by molt has to date never been investigated. The present study aimed to decipher the transcriptomic effects of molt in Ginkkoridak, a Korean long-tailed chicken. Messenger RNA data available across 24 types of tissue samples (9 males) and a combination of mRNA and miRNA data on 10 males and 10 females blood were used.

The impact of molt on gene expression and gene transcript usage appeared to vary substantially across tissues types in terms of histological entities or physiological functions particularly related to nervous system. Blood was the tissue most affected by molt in terms of differentially expressed genes in both sexes, closely followed by meninges, bone marrow and heart. The effect of molt in blood appeared to differ between males and females, with a more than fivefold difference in the number of down-regulated genes between both sexes. The blueprint of molt in roosters appeared to be specific to tissues or group of tissues, with relatively few genes replicating extensively across tissues, excepted for the spliceosome genes (U1, U4) and the ribosomal proteins (RPL21, RPL23). By integrating miRNA and mRNA data, when chickens molt, potential roles of miRNA were discovered such as regulation of neurogenesis, regulation of immunity and development of various organs. Furthermore, reliable candidate biomarkers of molt were found, which are related to cell dynamics, nervous system or immunity, processes or functions that have been shown to be extensively modulated in response to molt.

Our results provide a comprehensive description at the scale of the whole organism deciphering the effects of molt on the transcriptome in chicken. Also, the conclusion of this study can be used as a valuable resource in transcriptome analyses of chicken in the future and provide new insights related to molt.
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College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (농업생명과학대학)Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences (농업생명과학연구원)Journal Papers (저널논문_농업생명과학연구원)
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