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Development of a multitissue microfluidic array for assessing changes in gene expression associated with channel catfish appetite, growth, metabolism, and intestinal health

Schroeter, J.C., Peterson, B.C., Small, B.C.

Large-scale, gene expression profiling methods allow for high throughput analysis of physiological pathways at a fraction of the cost of individual gene expression analysis. Systems, such as the Fluidigm quantitative PCR array described here, can provide powerful assessments of the effects of diet, environment, and management on physiological pathways affecting production parameters. A targeted microfluidic PCR array was designed and validated, for channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) representing key pathways involved in appetite, growth, metabolism, and intestinal inflammation for their potential to provide insight into the effects of diet and dietary supplements on these important physiological processes regulating feed efficiency and growth. With few exceptions, PCR primers were designed from Ictaluridae gene sequences published in GenBank. PCR amplicons from primers designed outside of Ictaluridae were sequenced to verify gene identity. All target gene primers were initially validated via conventional real-time qPCR (RT-qPCR). Combined hypothalamus/pituitary, hepatic, stomach, and intestinal tissue were used validate a 48.48 microfluidic PCR array to analyze multitissue gene expression. Use of the Fluidigm array resulted in reliable cycle threshold levels (Ct), efficiencies (E), and quality threshold scores (QS) for all but eight genes examined. Of the potential reference genes included in the panel, alpha-tubulin (TUBA) had a high QS, E, and acceptable Ct. The high throughput application of this technology, relative to conventional RT-qPCR, for assessing dietary effects on these pathways is demonstrated. Development of this targeted multi-tissue microfluidic array paves the way for the rapid evaluation of regulatory pathways in response to alternative feeding strategies, dietary formulations, and supplementation, as well as environmental and management effects for improving channel catfish culture and validates a cost-effective, dynamic, gene expression platform for use with other cultured fishes.

Citation

Schroeter, J.C., Peterson, B.C., Small, B.C. "Development of a multitissue microfluidic array for assessing changes in gene expression associated with channel catfish appetite, growth, metabolism, and intestinal health" Aquaculture (2016): 213–21