Differential expression of mRNA isoforms in the skeletal muscle of pigs with distinct growth and fatness profiles

Tainã Figueiredo Cardoso, Raquel Quintanilla, Anna Castelló, Rayner González-Prendes, Marcel Amills, Ángela Cánovas

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16 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 The Author(s). Background: The identification of genes differentially expressed in the skeletal muscle of pigs displaying distinct growth and fatness profiles might contribute to identify the genetic factors that influence the phenotypic variation of such traits. So far, the majority of porcine transcriptomic studies have investigated differences in gene expression at a global scale rather than at the mRNA isoform level. In the current work, we have investigated the differential expression of mRNA isoforms in the gluteus medius (GM) muscle of 52 Duroc HIGH (increased backfat thickness, intramuscular fat and saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids contents) and LOW pigs (opposite phenotype, with an increased polyunsaturated fatty acids content). Results: Our analysis revealed that 10.9% of genes expressed in the GM muscle generate alternative mRNA isoforms, with an average of 2.9 transcripts per gene. By using two different pipelines, one based on the CLC Genomics Workbench and another one on the STAR, RSEM and DESeq2 softwares, we have identified 10 mRNA isoforms that both pipelines categorize as differentially expressed in HIGH vs LOW pigs (P-value < 0.01 and ±0.6 log2fold-change). Only five mRNA isoforms, produced by the ITGA5, SEMA4D, LITAF, TIMP1 and ANXA2 genes, remain significant after correction for multiple testing (q-value < 0.05 and ±0.6 log2fold-change), being upregulated in HIGH pigs. Conclusions: The increased levels of specific ITGA5, LITAF, TIMP1 and ANXA2 mRNA isoforms in HIGH pigs is consistent with reports indicating that the overexpression of these four genes is associated with obesity and metabolic disorders in humans. A broader knowledge about the functional attributes of these mRNA variants would be fundamental to elucidate the consequences of transcript diversity on the determinism of porcine phenotypes of economic interest.
Original languageEnglish
Article number145
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2018


  • Alternative splicing
  • Differential expression
  • MRNA isoform
  • Swine


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