Differential gene expression profiles in foetal skin of Rex rabbits with different wool density

L. Liu, B. Li, Y.L. Zhu, C.Y. Wang, F.C. Li


This study investigated the mechanisms controlling hair follicle development in the Rex rabbit. The Agilent rabbit gene expression microarray was used to determine differentially expressed genes in Rex rabbit foetuses with different wool densities. The expression patterns of selected differentially-expressed genes were further investigated by quantitative real-time PCR. Compared to low wool density rabbits, 1342 differentially expressed probes were identified in high wool density rabbits, including 950 upregulated probes and 392 downregulated probes. Gene ontology analysis revealed that the most upregulated differentially expressed probes belonged to receptors and the most downregulated differentially expressed probes belonged to DNA binding molecules. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis revealed that the differentially expressed probes were mainly involved in the sonic hedgehog (Shh) and Eph signalling pathways. The results also suggest that transforming growth factor-beta 1, growth hormone receptor, and the keratin-associated protein 6.1 genes, as well as the Shh and Eph signalling pathways, may be involved in the regulation of hair follicle developmental in Rex rabbits.


Rex rabbit foetus; wool density; gene expression; gene chip

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