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Poult Sci. 2013 Jun;92(6):1621-33. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02778.

Differential gene expression between normal and pale, soft, and exudative turkey meat.

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Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, 48824, USA.


In response to high consumer demand, turkeys have been intensively selected for rapid growth rate and breast muscle mass and conformation. The success in breeding selection has coincided with an increasing incidence of pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) meat defect, especially in response to heat stress. We hypothesized that the underlying mechanism responsible for the development of PSE meat arises from differences in expression of several critical genes. The objective of this study was to determine differential gene expression between normal and PSE turkey meat using a 6K turkey skeletal muscle long oligonucleotide microarray. Breast meat samples were collected from Randombred Control Line 2 turkeys at 22 wk of age, and classified as normal or PSE primarily based on marinade uptake (high = normal, low = PSE). Total RNA was isolated from meat samples with the highest (normal, n = 6) and the lowest (PSE, n = 6) marinade uptake. Microarray data confirmation was conducted using quantitative real-time PCR. Selection of differentially expressed genes for pathway analysis was performed using a combination of fold change (FC) ranking (FC < -1.66, FC >1.66) and false discovery rate (<0.35) as criteria. The calcium signaling pathway was highlighted as the top canonical pathway associated with differential gene expression between normal and PSE turkey. Dramatic downregulation of fast-twitch myosin heavy chain coupled with upregulation of slow-twitch myosin and troponin C suggested a switch of skeletal muscle isoforms, which may alter muscle fiber arrangement and formation of actin-myosin complexes. Changes in expression of genes in the actin cytoskeleton signaling pathway also suggest altered structures of actin filaments that may affect cell motility as well as strength and flexibility of muscle cells. Substantial downregulation of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase, isozyme 4 was observed in PSE samples, suggesting altered regulation of the aerobic metabolic pathway in the birds that developed PSE meat defect.

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