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Association analysis between feed efficiency and expression of key genes of the avTOR signaling pathway in meat-type ducks

Yang, Lei, He, Tingting, Xu, Yuan, Zang, He, Wang, Jiafa, Lin, Zhiqiang, Jin, Sihua, Geng, Zhaoyu
Molecular biology reports 2019 v.46 no.3 pp. 3537-3544
amino acids, cell proliferation, ducks, energy, feed conversion, feed intake, gene expression regulation, genes, liver, metabolism, nutrient transport, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, rapamycin, target of rapamycin signaling pathways, translation (genetics)
Genes involved in the target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling pathway are implicated in nutrient translation, cell proliferation and differentiation, and anabolism, which can affect both growth and feed intake. However, the role of TOR signaling in the regulation of feed intake and feed efficiency in poultry is not clear. In the present study, a total of 1000 ducks, of similar initial weight, were chosen and transferred to individual cages to determine their residual feed intake (RFI) from the age of 21 to 42 days. Subsequently, 60 ducks, which were divided into high (HRFI) and low (LRFI) groups according to their RFI, were chosen to analyze the TOR signaling activities in the liver. The differential expression level of genes involved in the TOR signaling pathway was assayed by the real-time polymerase chain reaction. In the liver, the expression of AKT, avTOR, avLST8, and S6K1 was significantly higher in LRFI ducks than in HRFI ducks; avTOR and AKT were negatively associated with the feed conversion ratio and RFI. Furthermore, PI3K was moderately positively associated with AKT; AKT was strongly positively associated with PI3K, avTOR, avLST8, and S6K1; and avTOR was strongly positively associated with S6K1. In conclusion, the activation of avTOR signaling in the liver of LRFI ducks might be ascribed to higher energy state or more active nutrient transport (amino acids), or both, than those in the liver of HRFI ducks. The results of the present study indicate that AKT and avTOR of TOR signaling might be used as candidate genes to assess molecular regulation of feed efficiency.