The objective of this study was to develop a system-level understanding of acidosis biology. Therefore, the genes expression differences between the normal and acidosis rumen epithelial tissues were first examined using the RNA-seq data in order to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the disease and then their corresponding metabolic networks constructed. A number of 1074 genes, 978 isoforms, 1049 transcription start sites (TSS), 998 coding DNA sequence (CDS) and 2 promoters were identified being differentially expressed in the rumen tissue between the normal and acidosis samples (p
< 0.05). The functional analysis of 627 up-regulated genes revealed their involvement in ion transmembrane transport, filament organization, regulation of cell adhesion, regulation of the actin cytoskeleton, ATP binding, glucose transmembrane transporter activity, carbohydrate binding, growth factor binding and cAMP metabolic process. Additionally, 111 differentially expressed enzymes were identified between the rumen epithelial tissue of the normal and acidosis steers with 46 up-regulated and 65 down-regulated ones in the acidosis group. The pathways and reactions analyses associated with the up-regulated enzymes indicate that most of these enzymes are involved in the fatty acid metabolism, biosynthesis of amino acids, pyruvate and carbon metabolism while most of the down-regulated ones are involved in purine and pyrimidine, vitamin B6 and antibiotics metabolisms. The degree distribution of both metabolic networks follows a power-law one, hence displaying a scale-free property. The top 15 hub metabolites were determined in the acidosis metabolic network with most of them involved in the fatty acid oxidation, VFA biosynthesis, amino acid biogenesis and glutathione metabolism which plays an important role in the stress condition. The limitations of this study were low number of animals and using only epithelial tissue (ventral sac) for RNA-seq.
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