Transcriptome Response of Differentiating Muscle Satellite Cells to Thermal Challenge in Commercial Turkey

Kent M. Reed, Kristelle M. Mendoza, Jiahui Xu, Gale M. Strasburg, Sandra G. Velleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Early muscle development involves the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells (satellite cells, SCs) in the mesoderm to form multinucleated myotubes that mature into muscle fibers and fiber bundles. Proliferation of SCs increases the number of cells available for muscle formation while simultaneously maintaining a population of cells for future response. Differentiation dramatically changes properties of the SCs and environmental stressors can have long lasting effects on muscle growth and physiology. This study was designed to characterize transcriptional changes induced in turkey SCs undergoing differentiation under thermal challenge. Satellite cells from the pectoralis major (p. major) muscle of 1-wk old commercial fast-growing birds (Nicholas turkey, NCT) and from a slower-growing research line (Randombred Control Line 2, RBC2) were proliferated for 72 h at 38 °C and then differentiated for 48 h at 33 °C (cold), 43 °C (hot) or 38 °C (control). Gene expression among thermal treatments and between turkey lines was examined by RNAseq to detect significant differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Cold treatment resulted in significant gene expression changes in the SCs from both turkey lines, with the primary effect being down regulation of the DEGs with overrepresentation of genes involved in regulation of skeletal muscle tissue regeneration and sarcomere organization. Heat stress increased expression of genes reported to regulate myoblast differentiation and survival and to promote cell adhesion particularly in the NCT line. Results suggest that growth selection in turkeys has altered the developmental potential of SCs in commercial birds to increase hypertrophic potential of the p. major muscle and sarcomere assembly. The biology of SCs may account for the distinctly different outcomes in response to thermal challenge on breast muscle growth, development, and structure of the turkey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1857
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food Agriculture, AFRI competitive grant no. 2020-67015-30827.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • differentiation
  • growth selection
  • hypertrophy
  • satellite cell
  • skeletal muscle
  • turkey


Dive into the research topics of 'Transcriptome Response of Differentiating Muscle Satellite Cells to Thermal Challenge in Commercial Turkey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this