Metabolic profiling of late-term turkey embryos by microarrays

J. E. de Oliveira, S. Druyan, Z. Uni, C. M. Ashwell, P. R. Ferket

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The last stages of embryonic development are crucial for turkeys as their metabolism shifts to accommodate posthatch survival and growth. To better understand the metabolic change that occurs during the perinatal period, focused microarray methodology was used to identify changes in the expression of key genes that control metabolism of turkey embryos from 20 d of incubation (E) until hatch (E28). Gene expression patterns were evaluated in liver, pectoral muscle, and hatching muscle and were associated with measured embryonic growth and tissue glycogen concentration. Within the studied period, the expression of 60 genes significantly changed in liver, 53 in pectoral muscle, and 51 in hatching muscle. Genes related to lipid metabolism (enoyl-CoA hydratase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, lipoprotein lipase, and thyroxine deiodinase) had reduced expression between E22 and E26, corresponding to the period of expected limited oxygen supply. In contrast, genes related to opposing pathways in carbohydrate metabolism, such as glycolysis and gluconeogenesis (hexokinases, glucose-6 phosphatase, phosphofructokinases, glucose 1-6 phosphatase, pyruvate kinase, and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase), or glycogenesis and glycogenolysis (glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase) had rather static expression patterns between E22 and E26, indicating their enzymatic activity must be under posttranscriptional control. Metabolic survey by microarray methodology brings new insights into avian embryonic development and physiology.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1011-1028
Number of pages18
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was founded by Embrex Inc. (Durham, NC) through the USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant 2005-33610-16491, September 15, 2005, to September 14, 2007.


  • Gene expression
  • Metabolism
  • Microarray
  • Poultry embryo
  • Turkey


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