Epithelial, metabolic and innate immunity transcriptomic signatures differentiating the rumen from other sheep and mammalian gastrointestinal tract tissues

R. Xiang, V.H. Oddy, A.L. Archibald, Phillip E. Vercoe, B.P. Dalrymple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
262 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

© 2016 Xiang et al. Background. Ruminants are successful herbivorous mammals, in part due to their specialized forestomachs, the rumen complex, which facilitates the conversion of feed to soluble nutrients by micro-organisms. Is the rumen complex a modified stomach expressing new epithelial (cornification) and metabolic programs, or a specialised stratified epithelium that has acquired new metabolic activities, potentially similar to those of the colon? How has the presence of the rumen affected other sections of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of ruminants compared to non-ruminants? Methods. Transcriptome data from 11 tissues covering the sheep GIT, two stratified epithelial and two control tissues, was analysed using principal components to cluster tissues based on gene expression profile similarity. Expression profiles of genes along the sheep GIT were used to generate a network to identify genes enriched for expression in different compartments of the GIT. The data from sheep was compared to similar data sets from two non-ruminants, pigs (closely related) and humans (more distantly related). Results. The rumen transcriptome clustered with the skin and tonsil, but not the GIT transcriptomes, driven by genes from the epidermal differentiation complex, and genes encoding stratified epithelium keratins and innate immunity proteins. By analysing all of the gene expression profiles across tissues together 16 major clusters were identified. The strongest of these, and consistent with the high turnover rate of the GIT, showed a marked enrichment of cell cycle process genes (P = 1.4E-46), across the whole GIT, relative to liver and muscle, with highest expression in the caecum followed by colon and rumen. The expression patterns of several membrane transporters (chloride, zinc, nucleosides, amino acids, fatty acids, cholesterol and bile acids) along the GIT was very similar in sheep, pig and humans. In contrast, short chain fatty acid uptake and metabolism appeared to be different between the species and different be
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1762
JournalPEERJ
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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