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QTL mapping of stress related gene expression in a cross between domesticated chickens and ancestral red junglefowl.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8820-0098
Department of Chemistry e Biomedical Center, Analytical Chemistry and Neurochemistry - BMC, 75124 Uppsala, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1262-4585
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
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2017 (English)In: Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, ISSN 0303-7207, E-ISSN 1872-8057, Vol. 446, 52-58 p., S0303-7207(17)30090-4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Domestication of animals is associated with numerous alterations in physiology, morphology, and behavior. Lower reactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and reduced fearfulness is seen in most studied domesticates, including chickens. Previously we have shown that the physiological stress response as well as expression levels of hundreds of genes in the hypothalamus and adrenal glands are different between domesticated White Leghorn and the progenitor of modern chickens, the Red Junglefowl. To map genetic loci associated with the transcription levels of genes involved in the physiological stress response, we conducted an eQTL analysis in the F12 generation of an inter-cross between White Leghorn and Red Junglefowl. We selected genes for further studies based on their known function in the regulation of the HPA axis or sympathoadrenal (SA) system, and measured their expression levels in the hypothalamus and the adrenal glands after a brief stress exposure (physical restraint). The expression values were treated as quantitative traits for the eQTL mapping. The plasma levels of corticosterone were also assessed. We analyzed the correlation between gene expression and corticosterone levels and mapped eQTL and their potential effects on corticosterone levels. The effects on gene transcription of a previously found QTL for corticosterone response were also investigated. The expression levels of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in the hypothalamus and several genes in the adrenal glands were correlated with the post-stress levels of corticosterone in plasma. We found several cis- and trans-acting eQTL for stress-related genes in both hypothalamus and adrenal. In the hypothalamus, one eQTL for c-FOS and one QTL for expression of GR were found. In the adrenal tissue, we identified eQTL for the genes NR0B1, RGS4, DBH, MAOA, GRIN1, GABRB2, GABRB3, and HSF1. None of the found eQTL were significant predictors of corticosterone levels. The previously found QTL for corticosterone was associated with GR expression in hypothalamus. Our data suggests that domestication related modification in the stress response is driven by changes in the transcription levels of several modulators of the HPA and SA systems in hypothalamus and adrenal glands and not by changes in the expression of the steroidogenic genes. The presence of eQTL for GR in hypothalamus combined with the negative correlation between GR expression and corticosterone response suggests GR as a candidate for further functional studies regarding modification of stress response during chicken domestication.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 446, 52-58 p., S0303-7207(17)30090-4
Keyword [en]
Animal domestication, HPA axis, QTL, Stress response, eQTL
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-136027DOI: 10.1016/j.mce.2017.02.010ISI: 000399509600006PubMedID: 28189567OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-136027DiVA: diva2:1084675
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council (VR) [621-2011-4731]; Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS) [221-2011-1088]; ERC [Genewell 322206]; SRC grant [VR 621-2011-4423, 2015-4870]; Swedish Centre of Excellence in A

Available from: 2017-03-27 Created: 2017-03-27 Last updated: 2017-05-18
In thesis
1. Domestication Effects on the Stress Response in Chickens: Genetics, Physiology, and Behaviour
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Domestication Effects on the Stress Response in Chickens: Genetics, Physiology, and Behaviour
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Animal domestication, the process where animals become adapted to living in proximity to humans, is associated with the alteration of multiple traits, including decreased fearfulness and stress response. With an estimated population of 50 billion, the domesticated chicken is the most populous avian species in the world. Hundreds of chicken breeds have been developed for meat and egg production, hobby or research purposes. Multidirectional selection and the relaxation of natural selection in captivity have created immense phenotypic diversity amongst domesticates in a relatively short evolutionary time. The extensive phenotypic diversity, existence of the wild ancestor, and feasibility of intercrossing various breeds makes the chicken a suitable model animal for deciphering genetic determinants of complex traits such as stress response. We used chicken domestication as a model to gain insights about the mechanisms that regulate stress response in an avian species. We studied behavioural and physiological stress response in the ancestral Red Junglefowl and one of its domesticated progenies, White Leghorn. An advanced intercross between the aforementioned breeds was later used to map genetic loci underlying modification of stress response. The general pattern of the stress response in chickens was comparable with that reported in mammals, however we identified distinctive differences in the stress modulatory pathways in chickens. We showed that changes in the expression levels of several stress modulatory genes in the brain, the pituitary and the adrenal glands underlie the observed modified stress response in domesticated chickens. Using quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping, several QTL underlying stress induced corticosterone, aldosterone and baseline dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels were detected. As a next step, we combined QTL mapping with gene expression (eQTL) mapping and narrowed two QTL down to the putative causal genes, SERPINA10 and PDE1C. Both of these genes were differentially expressed in the adrenal glands of White Leghorn and the Red Junglefowl, had overlapping eQTL with hormonal QTL, and their expression levels in the adrenal glands were correlated with plasma levels of corticosterone and al-dosterone. These two genes thus serve as strong candidates for further functional investigation concerning modification of the stress response during domestication. This dissertation increase the knowledge about genetics and physiology of the stress response in an avian species and its modification during domestication. Our findings expand the basic knowledge about the stress response in chicken, which can potentially be used to improve welfare through appropriate genetic selection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. 31 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1842
Keyword
Animal domestication, stress response, gene expression, QTL, eQTL
National Category
Genetics Evolutionary Biology Zoology Developmental Biology Genetics and Breeding
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137350 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-137350 (DOI)9789176855461 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-09, Plank, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 09:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-15 Created: 2017-05-15 Last updated: 2017-05-15Bibliographically approved

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