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1.  A network-based approach for predicting Hsp27 knock-out targets in mouse skeletal muscles 
Thanks to genomics, we have previously identified markers of beef tenderness, and computed a bioinformatic analysis that enabled us to build an interactome in which we found Hsp27 at a crucial node. Here, we have used a network-based approach for understanding the contribution of Hsp27 to tenderness through the prediction of its interactors related to tenderness. We have revealed the direct interactors of Hsp27. The predicted partners of Hsp27 included proteins involved in different functions, e.g. members of Hsp families (Hsp20, Cryab, Hsp70a1a, and Hsp90aa1), regulators of apoptosis (Fas, Chuk, and caspase-3), translation factors (Eif4E, and Eif4G1), cytoskeletal proteins (Desmin) and antioxidants (Sod1). The abundances of 15 proteins were quantified by Western blotting in two muscles of HspB1-null mice and their controls. We observed changes in the amount of most of the Hsp27 predicted targets in mice devoid of Hsp27 mainly in the most oxidative muscle. Our study demonstrates the functional links between Hsp27 and its predicted targets. It suggests that Hsp status, apoptotic processes and protection against oxidative stress are crucial for post-mortem muscle metabolism, subsequent proteolysis, and therefore for beef tenderness.
PMCID: PMC3962151
Bioinformatics; Tenderness; Muscle; Interactome; Hsp27; HspB1-null mice
2.  The GENOTEND chip: a new tool to analyse gene expression in muscles of beef cattle for beef quality prediction 
Previous research programmes have described muscle biochemical traits and gene expression levels associated with beef tenderness. One of our results concerning the DNAJA1 gene (an Hsp40) was patented. This study aims to confirm the relationships previously identified between two gene families (heat shock proteins and energy metabolism) and beef quality.
We developed an Agilent chip with specific probes for bovine muscular genes. More than 3000 genes involved in muscle biology or meat quality were selected from genetic, proteomic or transcriptomic studies, or from scientific publications. As far as possible, several probes were used for each gene (e.g. 17 probes for DNAJA1). RNA from Longissimus thoracis muscle samples was hybridised on the chips. Muscles samples were from four groups of Charolais cattle: two groups of young bulls and two groups of steers slaughtered in two different years. Principal component analysis, simple correlation of gene expression levels with tenderness scores, and then multiple regression analysis provided the means to detect the genes within two families (heat shock proteins and energy metabolism) which were the most associated with beef tenderness. For the 25 Charolais young bulls slaughtered in year 1, expression levels of DNAJA1 and other genes of the HSP family were related to the initial or overall beef tenderness. Similarly, expression levels of genes involved in fat or energy metabolism were related with the initial or overall beef tenderness but in the year 1 and year 2 groups of young bulls only. Generally, the genes individually correlated with tenderness are not consistent across genders and years indicating the strong influence of rearing conditions on muscle characteristics related to beef quality. However, a group of HSP genes, which explained about 40% of the variability in tenderness in the group of 25 young bulls slaughtered in year 1 (considered as the reference group), was validated in the groups of 30 Charolais young bulls slaughtered in year 2, and in the 21 Charolais steers slaughtered in year 1, but not in the group of 19 steers slaughtered in year 2 which differ from the reference group by two factors (gender and year). When the first three groups of animals were analysed together, this subset of genes explained a 4-fold higher proportion of the variability in tenderness than muscle biochemical traits.
This study underlined the relevance of the GENOTEND chip to identify markers of beef quality, mainly by confirming previous results and by detecting other genes of the heat shock family as potential markers of beef quality. However, it was not always possible to extrapolate the relevance of these markers to all animal groups which differ by several factors (such as gender or environmental conditions of production) from the initial population of reference in which these markers were identified.
PMCID: PMC3438070  PMID: 22894653
Predictors; Beef; Tenderness; Array; Gene expression
3.  Molecular profiles of Quadriceps muscle in myostatin-null mice reveal PI3K and apoptotic pathways as myostatin targets 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:196.
Myostatin (MSTN), a member of the TGF-β superfamily, has been identified as a negative regulator of skeletal muscle mass. Inactivating mutations in the MSTN gene are responsible for the development of a hypermuscular phenotype. In this study, we performed transcriptomic and proteomic analyses to detect altered expression/abundance of genes and proteins. These differentially expressed genes and proteins may represent new molecular targets of MSTN and could be involved in the regulation of skeletal muscle mass.
Transcriptomic analysis of the Quadriceps muscles of 5-week-old MSTN-null mice (n = 4) and their controls (n = 4) was carried out using microarray (human and murine oligonucleotide sequences) of 6,473 genes expressed in muscle. Proteomic profiles were analysed using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with mass spectrometry. Comparison of the transcriptomic profiles revealed 192 up- and 245 down- regulated genes. Genes involved in the PI3K pathway, insulin/IGF pathway, carbohydrate metabolism and apoptosis regulation were up-regulated. Genes belonging to canonical Wnt, calcium signalling pathways and cytokine-receptor cytokine interaction were down-regulated. Comparison of the protein profiles revealed 20 up- and 18 down-regulated proteins spots. Knockout of the MSTN gene was associated with up-regulation of proteins involved in glycolytic shift of the muscles and down-regulation of proteins involved in oxidative energy metabolism. In addition, an increased abundance of survival/anti-apoptotic factors were observed.
All together, these results showed a differential expression of genes and proteins related to the muscle energy metabolism and cell survival/anti-apoptotic pathway (e.g. DJ-1, PINK1, 14-3-3ε protein, TCTP/GSK-3β). They revealed the PI3K and apoptotic pathways as MSTN targets and are in favour of a role of MSTN as a modulator of cell survival in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2684550  PMID: 19397818
4.  Image Analysis and Data Normalization Procedures are Crucial for Microarray Analyses 
This study was conducted with the aim of optimizing the experimental design of array experiments. We compared two image analysis and normalization procedures prior to data analysis using two experimental designs. For this, RNA samples from Charolais steers Longissimus thoracis muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissues were labeled and hybridized to a bovine 8,400 oligochip either in triplicate or in a dye-swap design. Image analysis and normalization were processed by either GenePix/MadScan or ImaGene/GeneSight. Statistical data analysis was then run using either the SAM method or a Student’s t-test using a multiple test correction run on R 2.1 software. Our results show that image analysis and normalization procedure had an impact whereas the statistical methods much less influenced the outcome of differentially expressed genes. Image analysis and data normalization are thus an important aspect of microarray experiments, having a potentially significant impact on downstream analyses such as the identification of differentially expressed genes. This study provides indications on the choice of raw data preprocessing in microarray technology.
PMCID: PMC2733091  PMID: 19787079
microarray; bovine; data analysis; experimental design; statistical analyses
5.  Target genes of myostatin loss-of-function in muscles of late bovine fetuses 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:63.
Myostatin, a muscle-specific member of the Transforming Growth Factor beta family, negatively regulates muscle development. Double-muscled (DM) cattle have a loss-of-function mutation in their myostatin gene responsible for the hypermuscular phenotype. Thus, these animals are a good model for understanding the mechanisms underpinning muscular hypertrophy. In order to identify individual genes or networks that may be myostatin targets, we looked for genes that were differentially expressed between DM and normal (NM) animals (n = 3 per group) in the semitendinosus muscle (hypertrophied in DM animals) at 260 days of fetal development (when the biochemical differentiation of muscle is intensive). A heterologous microarray (human and murine oligonucleotide sequences) of around 6,000 genes expressed in muscle was used.
Many genes were found to be differentially expressed according to genetic type (some with a more than 5-fold change), and according to the presence of one or two functional myostatin allele(s). They belonged to various functional categories. The genes down-regulated in DM fetuses were mainly those encoding extracellular matrix proteins, slow contractile proteins and ribosomal proteins. The genes up-regulated in DM fetuses were mainly involved in the regulation of transcription, cell cycle/apoptosis, translation or DNA metabolism. These data highlight features indicating that DM muscle is shifted towards a more glycolytic metabolism, and has an altered extracellular matrix composition (e.g. down-regulation of COL1A1 and COL1A2, and up-regulation of COL4A2) and decreased adipocyte differentiation (down-regulation of C1QTNF3). The altered gene expression in the three major muscle compartments (fibers, connective tissue and intramuscular adipose tissue) is consistent with the well-known characteristics of DM cattle. In addition, novel potential targets of the myostatin gene were identified (MB, PLN, troponins, ZFHX1B).
Thus, the myostatin loss-of-function mutation affected several physiological processes involved in the development and determination of the functional characteristics of muscle tissue.
PMCID: PMC1831773  PMID: 17331240
6.  A Variant Form of the Nuclear Triiodothyronine Receptor c-ErbAα1 Plays a Direct Role in Regulation of Mitochondrial RNA Synthesis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(12):7913-7924.
In earlier research, we identified a 43-kDa c-ErbAα1 protein (p43) in the mitochondrial matrix of rat liver. In the present work, binding experiments indicate that p43 displays an affinity for triiodothyronine (T3) similar to that of the T3 nuclear receptor. Using in organello import experiments, we found that p43 is targeted to the organelle by an unusual process similar to that previously reported for MTF1, a yeast mitochondrial transcription factor. DNA-binding experiments demonstrated that p43 specifically binds to four mitochondrial DNA sequences with a high similarity to nuclear T3 response elements (mt-T3REs). Using in organello transcription experiments, we observed that p43 increases the levels of both precursor and mature mitochondrial transcripts and the ratio of mRNA to rRNA in a T3-dependent manner. These events lead to stimulation of mitochondrial protein synthesis. In transient-transfection assays with reporter genes driven by the mitochondrial D loop or two mt-T3REs located in the D loop, p43 stimulated reporter gene activity only in the presence of T3. All these effects were abolished by deletion of the DNA-binding domain of p43. Finally, p43 overexpression in QM7 cells increased the levels of mitochondrial mRNAs, thus indicating that the in organello influence of p43 was physiologically relevant. These data reveal a novel hormonal pathway functioning within the mitochondrion, involving a truncated form of a nuclear receptor acting as a potent mitochondrial T3-dependent transcription factor.
PMCID: PMC84876  PMID: 10567517

Results 1-6 (6)