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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00230

Systems Biology Reveals NR2F6 and TGFB1 as Key Regulators of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle

  • 1University of São Paulo, Brazil
  • 2Agriculture & Food, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Brisbane, Australia

Systems biology approaches are used as strategy to uncover tissue-specific perturbations and regulatory genes related to complex phenotypes. We applied this approach to study feed efficiency (FE) in beef cattle, an important trait both economically and environmentally. Poly-A selected RNA of five tissues (adrenal gland, hypothalamus, liver, skeletal muscle and pituitary) of eighteen young bulls, selected for high and low FE, were sequenced (Illumina HiSeq 2500, 100bp, pared-end). From the 17,354 expressed genes considering all tissues, 1,335 were prioritized by five selection categories (differentially expressed, harboring SNPs associated with FE, tissue-specific, secreted in plasma and key regulators) and used for network construction. NR2F6 and TGFB1 were identified and validated by motif discovery as key regulators of hepatic inflammatory response and muscle tissue development, respectively, two biological processes demonstrated to be associated to FE. Moreover, we indicated potential biomarkers of FE, which are related to hormonal control of metabolism and sexual maturity. By using robust methodologies and validation strategies, we confirmed main biological processes related to FE in Bos indicus and indicated candidate genes as regulators or biomarkers of superior animals.

Keywords: feed efficiency, residual feed intake (RFI), Nellore (Zebu), Bos indicus, Muscle Development, Inflammation, motif discovery, Regulatory gene network

Received: 09 Aug 2018; Accepted: 04 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

David E. MacHugh, University College Dublin, Ireland

Reviewed by:

Elisabetta Giuffra, INRA Centre Jouy-en-Josas, France
Carolina N. Correia, University College Dublin, Ireland  

Copyright: © 2019 Alexandre, Naval-Sanchez, Porto-Neto, Ferraz, Reverter and Fukumasu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Heidge Fukumasu, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, 05508-010, São Paulo, Brazil,