Integrative metabolomic and transcriptomic analysis reveals difference in glucose and lipid metabolism in the longissimus muscle of Luchuan and Duroc pigs

Liyan Deng, Wangchang Li, Weiwei Liu, Yanwen Liu, Bingkun Xie, Martien A.M. Groenen, Ole Madsen, Xiaogan Yang*, Zhonglin Tang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Luchuan pig, an obese indigenous Chinese porcine breed, has a desirable meat quality and reproductive capacity. Duroc, a traditional western breed, shows a faster growth rate, high feed efficiency and high lean meat rate. Given the unique features these two porcine breeds have, it is of interest to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms behind their distinctive nature. In this study, the metabolic and transcriptomic profiles of longissimus dorsi muscle from Duroc and Luchuan pigs were compared. A total of 609 metabolites were identified, 77 of which were significantly decreased in Luchuan compared to Duroc, and 71 of which were significantly elevated. Most differentially accumulated metabolites (DAMs) upregulated in Luchuan were glycerophospholipids, fatty acids, oxidized lipids, alcohols, and amines, while metabolites downregulated in Luchuan were mostly amino acids, organic acids and nucleic acids, bile acids and hormones. From our RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) data we identified a total of 3638 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), 1802 upregulated and 1836 downregulated in Luchuan skeletal muscle compared to Duroc. Combined multivariate and pathway enrichment analyses of metabolome and transcriptome results revealed that many of the DEGs and DAMs are associated with critical energy metabolic pathways, especially those related to glucose and lipid metabolism. We examined the expression of important DEGs in two pathways, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling pathway and fructose and mannose metabolism, using Real-Time Quantitative Reverse Transcription PCR (qRT-PCR). Genes related to glucose uptake, glycolysis, glycogen synthesis, fatty acid synthesis (PFKFB1, PFKFB4, MPI, TPI1, GYS1, SLC2A4, FASN, IRS1, ULK1) are more activated in Luchuan, while genes related to fatty acid oxidation, cholesterol synthesis (CPT1A, HMGCR, FOXO3) are more suppressed. Energy utilization can be a decisive factor to the distinctive metabolic, physiological and nutritional characteristics in skeletal muscle of the two breeds we studied. Our research may facilitate future porcine breeding projects and can be used to reveal the potential molecular basis of differences in complex traits between various breeds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1128033
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2023


  • AMPK signaling pathway
  • Duroc
  • fructose and mannose metabolism
  • glycolysis
  • lipid metabolism
  • Luchuan
  • metabolic profiling
  • RNA-seq


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