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Journal of Applied Genetics 50(4), 2009, pp. 361-369

Correlation between porcine PPARGC1A mRNA expression and its downstream target genes in backfat and longissimus dorsi muscle

T. Erkens, J. Vandesompele, A. Van Zeveren, L.J. Peelman

Abstract: Knowledge of in vivo relationship between the coactivator PPARGC1A and its target genes is very limited, especially in the pig. In this study, a real-time PCR experiment was performed on longissimus dorsi muscle (MLD) and backfat with 10 presumed PPARGC1A downstream target genes, involved in energy and fat metabolism, to identify possible relationships with PPARGC1A mRNA expression in vivo in the pig (n = 20). Except for UCP3 and LPL, a very significant difference in expression was found between MLD and backfat for all genes (P < 0.01). Hierarchical cluster analysis and the significant pairing of mRNA expression data between sampling locations suggested a genetic regulation of the expression of several target genes. A positive correlation with PPARGC1A was found for CPT1B, GLUT4, PDK4, and TFAM (P < 0.0001). A negative correlation was found for UCP2, FABP4, LEP (P < 0.0001), and TNF (P = 0.0071). No significant correlation was detected for UCP3 and LPL. This study provides evidence for a clear difference in mRNA expression of crucial genes in fat and energy metabolism between 2 important tissues. Our data suggest a clear impact of PPARGC1A on energy and lipid metabolism in vivo in the pig, through several of these downstream target genes.

Key words: correlation, mRNA, pig, PPARGC1A, RT-qPCR, target genes.

Correspondence: T. Erkens, Department of Nutrition, Genetics and Ethology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Heidestraat 19, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium; e-mail:

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