Large-Scale Metadata Analysis of Ovary Based Multi-Omics Datasets for Understanding the Genes Regulating Litter Size
Background : Litter size is a very important production index in the livestock industry, which is controlled by various complex physiological processes. To understand and reveal the common gene expression patterns involved in controlling prolificacy, we have performed a large-scale metadata analysis of five genome-wide transcriptome datasets of pig and sheep ovary samples obtained from high and low litter groups, respectively. We analyzed separately each transcriptome dataset using GeneSpring
... using GeneSpring v14.8 software by implementing standard, generic analysis pipelines and further compared the list of most significant and differentially expressed genes obtained from each dataset to identify genes that are found to be common and significant across all the studies. Results : We have observed a total of 62 differentially expressed genes common among more than two gene expression datasets. The KEGG pathway analysis of most significant genes has shown that they are involved in metabolism, the biosynthesis of lipids, cholesterol and steroid hormones, immune system, cell growth and death, cancer-related pathways and signal transduction pathways. Of these 62 genes, we further narrowed the list to the 25 most significant genes by focusing on the ones with fold change >1.5 and p<0.05. These genes are CYP11A1, HSD17B2, STAR, SCARB1, IGSF8, MSMB, SERPINA1 , FAM46C, HEXA, PTTG1, TIMP1, FAM167B, CCNG1, FAXDC2, HMGCS1, L2HGDH, Lipin1, MME, MSMO1, PARM1, PTGFR, SLC22A4, SLC35F5, CCNA2, CENPU, CEP55, RASSF2, and SLC16A3 . Conclusions : Interestingly, comparing the list of genes with the list of genes obtained from our literature search analysis, we found only three genes in common. These genes are HEXA, PTTG1, and TIMP1. Our finding points to the potential of a few genes that may be important for ovarian follicular development and oocyte quality. Future studies revealing the function of these genes will further our understanding of how litter size is controlled in the ovary while also providing insight on genetic selection of high litter gilts.