Progesterone signalling in broiler skeletal muscle is associated with divergent feed efficiency

Bottje, Walter, Kong, Byung-Whi, Reverter, Antonio, Waardenberg, Ashley J., Lassiter, Kentu, and Hudson, Nicholas J. (2017) Progesterone signalling in broiler skeletal muscle is associated with divergent feed efficiency. BMC Systems Biology, 11. 29.

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Background: We contrast the pectoralis muscle transcriptomes of broilers selected from within a single genetic line expressing divergent feed efficiency (FE) in an effort to improve our understanding of the mechanistic basis of FE.

Results: Application of a virtual muscle model to gene expression data pointed to a coordinated reduction in slow twitch muscle isoforms of the contractile apparatus (MYH15, TPM3, MYOZ2, TNNI1, MYL2, MYOM3, CSRP3, TNNT2), consistent with diminishment in associated slow machinery (myoglobin and phospholamban) in the high FE animals. These data are in line with the repeated transition from red slow to white fast muscle fibres observed in agricultural species selected on mass and FE. Surprisingly, we found that the expression of 699 genes encoding the broiler mitoproteome is modestly–but significantly–biased towards the high FE group, suggesting a slightly elevated mitochondrial content. This is contrary to expectation based on the slow muscle isoform data and theoretical physiological capacity arguments. Reassuringly, the extreme 40 most DE genes can successfully cluster the 12 individuals into the appropriate FE treatment group. Functional groups contained in this DE gene list include metabolic proteins (including opposing patterns of CA3 and CA4), mitochondrial proteins (CKMT1A), oxidative status (SEPP1, HIG2A) and cholesterol homeostasis (APOA1, INSIG1). We applied a differential network method (Regulatory Impact Factors) whose aim is to use patterns of differential co-expression to detect regulatory molecules transcriptionally rewired between the groups. This analysis clearly points to alterations in progesterone signalling (via the receptor PGR) as the major driver. We show the progesterone receptor localises to the mitochondria in a quail muscle cell line.

Conclusions: Progesterone is sometimes used in the cattle industry in exogenous hormone mixes that lead to a ~20% increase in FE. Because the progesterone receptor can localise to avian mitochondria, our data continue to point to muscle mitochondrial metabolism as an important component of the phenotypic expression of variation in broiler FE.

Item ID: 55654
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1752-0509
Keywords: feed efficiency; mitochondria; progesterone
Copyright Information: Copyright © The Author(s). 2017
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This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Projects and Grants: USDA 2013-01953, CSIRO McMaster Fellowship
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2018 04:45
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3102 Bioinformatics and computational biology > 310205 Proteomics and metabolomics @ 70%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300301 Animal growth and development @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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