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Analysis of gene co-expression networks and function modules at different developmental stages of chicken breast muscle

Li, Guohui, Zhang, Tao, Zhang, Genxi, Chen, Lan, Han, Wei, Guojun Dai,, Xie, Kaizhou, Zhu, Xiaoyan, Su, Yijun, Wang, Jinyu
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.508 no.1 pp. 177-183
adipogenesis, breast meat, breast muscle, chicken meat, chickens, developmental stages, genes, hatching, insulin, meat quality, mitogen-activated protein kinase, muscle development, muscle fibers, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, signal transduction
The development of poultry muscle fibers after hatching is closely related to meat quality and production efficiency. It is necessary to identify functional modules (groups of functionally related genes) related to muscle development at different developmental stages, and to investigate their relationships based on the weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) methods. Accordingly, we investigated the co-expression associations between genes related to chicken breast muscle at four different developmental stages (between 2 and 14 weeks of age), and systematically analyzed the network topology in Jinmao Hua chicken. As a result, 2341 differentially expressed genes were identified and subjected to co-expression analysis. Four modules were identified to be related to a particular growth stage for the development of breast muscle. A series of genes with the highest connectivity were identified in the pink (2 weeks), yellow (6 weeks), green (10 weeks) and black modules (14 weeks), respectively, and visualized by Cytoscape. These hub genes (FGF, MAPKAPK5, NRG1, SCD, ACSL1, PPAR etc.) were mainly enriched in 15 pathways, such as MAPK signaling pathway, NRG/ErbB signaling pathway, and insulin signaling pathway. They shared biological functions related to development of breast muscle and adipogenesis. This is the first study of gene network with different stages of muscle development in Jinmao Hua chicken to observe co-expression patterns. It may contribute to the underlied molecular mechanisms of chicken breast muscle development.