Table_1_Transcriptional Profiles of Skeletal Muscle Associated With Increasing Severity of White Striping in Commercial Broilers.XLSX

Development of the white striping (WS) abnormality adversely impacts overall quality of broiler breast meat. Its etiology remains unclear. This study aimed at exploring transcriptional profiles of broiler skeletal muscles exhibiting different WS severity to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying the development and progression of WS. Total RNA was isolated from pectoralis major of male 7-week-old Ross 308 broilers. The samples were classified as mild (n = 6), moderate (n = 6), or severe (n = 4), based on number and thickness of the white striations on the meat surface. The transcriptome was profiled using a chicken gene expression microarray with one-color hybridization technique. Gene expression patterns of each WS severity level were compared against each other; hence, there were three comparisons: moderate vs. mild (C1), severe vs. moderate (C2), and severe vs. mild (C3). Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified using the combined criteria of false discovery rate ≤ 0.05 and absolute fold change ≥1.2. Differential expression of 91, 136, and 294 transcripts were identified in C1, C2, and C3, respectively. There were no DEGs in common among the three comparisons. Based on pathway analysis, the enriched pathways of C1 were related with impaired homeostasis of macronutrients and small biochemical molecules with disrupted Ca2+-related pathways. Decreased abundance of the period circadian regulator suggested the shifted circadian phase when moderate WS developed. The enriched pathways uniquely obtained in C2 were RNA degradation, Ras signaling, cellular senescence, axon guidance, and salivary secretion. The DEGs identified in those pathways might play crucial roles in regulating cellular ion balances and cell-cycle arrest. In C3, the pathways responsible for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt signaling, p53 activation, apoptosis, and hypoxia-induced processes were modified. Additionally, pathways associated with a variety of diseases with the DEGs involved in regulation of [Ca2+], collagen formation, microtubule-based motor, and immune response were identified. Eight pathways were common to all three comparisons (i.e., calcium signaling, Ras-associated protein 1 signaling, ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis, vascular smooth muscle contraction, oxytocin signaling, and pathway in cancer). The current findings support the role of intracellular ion imbalance, particularly Ca2+, oxidative stress, and impaired programmed cell death on WS progression.