• Analysis of meat quality traits and gene expression profiling of pigs divergent in residual feed intake

      Horodyska, Justyna; Oster, Michael; Reyer, Henry; Mullen, Anne Maria; Lawlor, Peadar G; Wimmers, Klaus; Hamill, Ruth; European Union Seventh Framework Programme; 311794 (Elsevier, 2017-11-20)
      Residual feed intake (RFI), the difference between actual feed intake and predicted feed requirements, is suggested to impact various aspects of meat quality. The objective of this study was to investigate the molecular mechanisms underpinning the relationship between RFI and meat quality. Technological, sensory and nutritional analysis as well as transcriptome profiling were carried out in Longissimus thoracis et lumborum muscle of pigs divergent in RFI (n = 20). Significant differences in sensory profile and texture suggest a minor impairment of meat quality in more efficient pigs. Low RFI animals had leaner carcasses, greater muscle content and altered fatty acid profiles compared to high RFI animals. Accordingly, differentially expressed genes were enriched in muscle growth and lipid & connective tissue metabolism. Differences in protein synthesis and degradation suggest a greater turnover of low RFI muscle, while divergence in connective tissue adhesion may impact tenderness. Fatty acid oxidation tending towards decrease could possibly contribute to reduced mitochondrial activity in low RFI muscle.
    • Host-Microbiota Interactions in Ileum and Caecum of Pigs Divergent in Feed Efficiency Contribute to Nutrient Utilization

      Reyer, Henry; Oster, Michael; McCormack, Ursula M.; Muráni, Eduard; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Ponsuksili, Siriluck; Lawlor, Peadar G.; Wimmers, Klaus; European Union; 311794 (MDPI AG, 2020-04-14)
      The composition of the intestinal microbiota plays an important role in the digestion and utilization of nutrients and for gut health. Low-fiber diets stimulate digestion and absorption processes, predominantly in the upper region of the gastrointestinal tract, thereby increasing the conversion of feed into body weight. As a consequence, the chemical composition of digesta after duodenal and jejunal absorption processes and passage has a limited complexity affecting colonization and molecular profiles of enterocytes in the hind gut. To decipher ileal and caecal microbial ecosystems and host transcriptional profiles that are beneficial for effective use of the remaining nutrients, pigs differing in feeding efficiency were studied. Biological functions that were consistently enriched at both the gene and microbiota levels comprise immunity-related processes, which ensure the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, the differential abundance of certain genera, including Rothia, Subdoligranulu, Leeia and Cellulosilyticum, reflects the establishment of a microbial profile that supports the digestion of endogenously indigestible dietary components in highly feed-efficient pigs. Overall, the results indicate the potential to promote these beneficial functions and further improve feed efficiency through manipulation of dietary and probiotic strategies.
    • RNA-seq of muscle from pigs divergent in feed efficiency and product quality identifies differences in immune response, growth, and macronutrient and connective tissue metabolism

      Horodyska, Justyna; Wimmers, Klaus; Reyer, Henry; Trakooljul, Nares; Mullen, Anne Maria; Lawlor, Peadar G; Hamill, Ruth M; European Union; 311794 (Biomed Central, 2018-11-01)
      Background Feed efficiency (FE) is an indicator of efficiency in converting energy and nutrients from feed into a tissue that is of major environmental and economic significance. The molecular mechanisms contributing to differences in FE are not fully elucidated, therefore the objective of this study was to profile the porcine Longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) muscle transcriptome, examine the product quality from pigs divergent in FE and investigate the functional networks underpinning the potential relationship between product quality and FE. Results RNA-Seq (n = 16) and product quality (n = 40) analysis were carried out in the LTL of pigs differing in FE status. A total of 272 annotated genes were differentially expressed with a P < 0.01. Functional annotation revealed a number of biological events related to immune response, growth, carbohydrate & lipid metabolism and connective tissue indicating that these might be the key mechanisms governing differences in FE. Five most significant bio-functions altered in FE groups were ‘haematological system development & function’, ‘lymphoid tissue structure & development’, ‘tissue morphology’, ‘cellular movement’ and ‘immune cell trafficking’. Top significant canonical pathways represented among the differentially expressed genes included ‘IL-8 signalling’, ‘leukocyte extravasation signalling, ‘sphingosine-1-phosphate signalling’, ‘PKCθ signalling in T lymphocytes’ and ‘fMLP signalling in neutrophils’. A minor impairment in the quality of meat, in relation to texture and water-holding capacity, produced by high-FE pigs was observed. High-FE pigs also had reduced intramuscular fat content and improved nutritional profile in terms of fatty acid composition. Conclusions Ontology analysis revealed enhanced activity of adaptive immunity and phagocytes in high-FE pigs suggesting more efficient conserving of resources, which can be utilised for other important biological processes. Shifts in carbohydrate conversion into glucose in FE-divergent muscle may underpin the divergent evolution of pH profile in meat from the FE-groups. Moreover, altered amino acid metabolism and increased mobilisation & flux of calcium may influence growth in FE-divergent muscle. Furthermore, decreased degradation of fibroblasts in FE-divergent muscle could impact on collagen turnover and alter tenderness of meat, whilst enhanced lipid degradation in high-FE pigs may potentially underlie a more efficient fat metabolism in these animals.