U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Diniz, W.J.S., Crouse, M.S., Cushman, R.A. et al. Cerebrum, liver, and muscle regulatory networks uncover maternal nutrition effects in developmental programming of beef cattle during early pregnancy. Sci Rep 11, 2771 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-82156-w




The molecular basis underlying fetal programming in response to maternal nutrition remains unclear. Herein, we investigated the regulatory relationships between genes in fetal cerebrum, liver, and muscle tissues to shed light on the putative mechanisms that underlie the effects of early maternal nutrient restriction on bovine developmental programming. To this end, cerebrum, liver, and muscle gene expression were measured with RNA-Seq in 14 fetuses collected on day 50 of gestation from dams fed a diet initiated at breeding to either achieve 60% (RES, n= 7) or 100% (CON, n= 7) of energy requirements. To build a tissue-to-tissue gene network, we prioritized tissue-specific genes, transcription factors, and differentially expressed genes. Furthermore, we built condition-specific networks to identify differentially co-expressed or connected genes. Nutrient restriction led to differential tissue regulation between the treatments. Myogenic factors differentially regulated by ZBTB33 and ZNF131 may negatively affect myogenesis. Additionally, nutrient-sensing pathways, such as mTOR and PI3K/Akt, were affected by gene expression changes in response to nutrient restriction. By unveiling the network properties, we identified major regulators driving gene expression. However, further research is still needed to determine the impact of early maternal nutrition and strategic supplementation on pre- and post-natal performance