• Transcriptome analysis of porcine M. semimembranosus divergent in intramuscular fat as a consequence of dietary protein restriction

      Hamill, Ruth M; Aslan, Ozlem; Mullen, Anne Maria; O'Doherty, John V.; McBryan, Jean; Morris, Dermot G.; Sweeney, Torres; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Biomed Central, 06/07/2013)
      Background: Intramuscular fat (IMF) content is positively correlated with aspects of pork palatability, including flavour, juiciness and overall acceptability. The ratio of energy to protein in the finishing diet of growing pigs can impact on IMF content with consequences for pork quality. The objective of this study was to compare gene expression profiles of Musculus semimembranosus (SM) of animals divergent for IMF as a consequence of protein dietary restriction in an isocaloric diet. The animal model was derived through the imposition of low or high protein diets during the finisher stage in Duroc gilts. RNA was extracted from post mortem SM tissue, processed and hybridised to Affymetrix porcine GeneChip® arrays. Results: IMF content of SM muscle was increased on the low protein diet (3.60 ± 0.38% versus 1.92 ± 0.35%). Backfat depth was also greater in animals on the low protein diet, and average daily gain and feed conversion ratio were lower, but muscle depth, protein content and moisture content were not affected. A total of 542 annotated genes were differentially expressed (DE) between animals on low and high protein diets, with 351 down-regulated and 191 up-regulated on the low protein diet. Transcript differences were validated for a subset of DE genes by qPCR. Alterations in functions related to cell cycle, muscle growth, extracellular matrix organisation, collagen development, lipogenesis and lipolysis, were observed. Expression of adipokines including LEP, TNFα and HIF1α were increased and the hypoxic stress response was induced. Many of the identified transcriptomic responses have also been observed in genetic and fetal programming models of differential IMF accumulation, indicating they may be robust biological indicators of IMF content. Conclusion: An extensive perturbation of overall energy metabolism in muscle occurs in response to protein restriction. A low protein diet can modulate IMF content of the SM by altering gene pathways involved in lipid biosynthesis and degradation; however this nutritional challenge negatively impacts protein synthesis pathways, with potential consequences for growth.