Microarray Analysis of Genes Involved with Shell Strength in Layer Shell Gland at the Early Stage of Active Calcification

  • Liu, Zhangguo (The Nurturing Station for the State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Silviculture, Zhejiang A & F University) ;
  • Zheng, Qi (Department of Biology, 104 Lynch Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania) ;
  • Zhang, Xueyu (Institute of Poultry Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Lu, Lizhi (Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Zhejiang Provincial Academy of Agricultural Science)
  • Received : 2012.07.18
  • Accepted : 2012.09.15
  • Published : 2013.05.01


The objective of this study was to get a comprehensive understanding of how genes in chicken shell gland modulate eggshell strength at the early stage of active calcification. Four 32-week old of purebred Xianju hens with consistent high or low shell breakage strength were grouped into two pairs. Using Affymetrix Chicken Array, a whole-transcriptome analysis was performed on hen's shell gland at 9 h post oviposition. Gene ontology enrichment analysis for differentially expressed (DE) transcripts was performed using the web-based GOEAST, and the validation of DE-transcripts was tested by qRT-PCR. 1,195 DE-transcripts, corresponding to 941 unique genes were identified in hens with strong eggshell compared to weak shell hens. According to gene ontology annotations, there are 77 DE-transcripts encoding ion transporters and secreted extracellular matrix proteins, and at least 26 DE-transcripts related to carbohydrate metabolism or post-translation glycosylation modification; furthermore, there are 88 signaling DE-transcripts. GO term enrichment analysis suggests that some DE-transcripts mediate reproductive hormones or neurotransmitters to affect eggshell quality through a complex suite of biophysical processes. These results reveal some candidate genes involved with eggshell strength at the early stage of active calcification which may facilitate our understanding of regulating mechanisms of eggshell quality.


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