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Open AccessArticle

Liver Transcriptome Changes of Hyla Rabbit in Response to Chronic Heat Stress

Farm Animal Genetic Resources Exploration and Innovation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
Chengdu Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, Chengdu 611130, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The authors contributed equally to this work.
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1141;
Received: 4 December 2019 / Accepted: 11 December 2019 / Published: 13 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
It has been widely acknowledged in farm animals that environmental heat stress would have comprehensive influences on many kinds of physiological aspects, including the metabolic characteristics, production performances, welfare concerns, etc. The rabbit is a small herbivore and needs to regulate the body temperature in a fine mechanism. Little is known, however, about the genes and pathways that are involved in the regulatory responses under chronic heat stress conditions. In the present study, we investigated the liver transcriptome changes in response to chronic heat stress for Hyla rabbit, that is a commercial meat breed recently introduced into China. We successfully revealed the differentially expressed genes that were significantly enriched in heat stress related biological processes. The results would help us for better understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying physiological responses against heat stress in rabbits.
Rabbit is an economically important farm animal in China and also is a widely used animal model in biological researches. Rabbits are very sensitive to the environmental conditions, therefore we investigated the liver transcriptome changes in response to chronic heat stress in the present study. Six Hyla rabbits were randomly divided into two groups: chronic heat stress (HS) and controls without heat stress (CN). Six RNA-Seq libraries totally yielded 380 million clean reads after the quality filtering. Approximately 85.07% of reads were mapped to the reference genome. After assembling transcripts and quantifying gene expression levels, we detected 51 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between HS and CN groups with thresholds of the adjusted p-value < 0.05 and |log2(FoldChange)| > 1. Among them, 33 and 18 genes were upregulated and downregulated, respectively. Gene ontology analyses further revealed that these DEGs were mainly associated with metabolism of lipids, thyroid hormone metabolic process, and cellular modified amino acid catabolic process. The upregulated ACACB, ACLY, LSS, and CYP7A1 genes were found to be inter-related through biological processes of thioester biosynthetic process, acyl-CoA biosynthetic process, acetyl-CoA metabolic process, and others. Six DEGs were further validated by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. The results revealed the candidate genes and biological processes that will potentially be considered as important regulatory factors involved in the heat stress response in rabbits. View Full-Text
Keywords: rabbit; chronic heat stress; transcriptome; differentially expressed genes rabbit; chronic heat stress; transcriptome; differentially expressed genes
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Wu, Z.-L.; Yang, X.; Chen, S.-Y.; Deng, F.-L.; Jia, X.-B.; Hu, S.-Q.; Wang, J.; Lai, S.-J. Liver Transcriptome Changes of Hyla Rabbit in Response to Chronic Heat Stress. Animals 2019, 9, 1141.

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