Metabolism provides energy and nutrients required for the cellular growth, maintenance, and reproduction. When compared with genomics and proteomics, metabolism studies provide novel findings in terms of cellular functions. In this study, we examined significant and differentially expressed genes in primordial germ cells (PGCs), gonadal stromal cells, and chicken embryonic fibroblasts compared with blastoderms using microarray. All upregulated genes (1001, 1118, and 974, respectively) and downregulated genes (504, 627, and 1317, respectively) in three test samples were categorized into functional groups according to gene ontology. Then all selected genes were tested to examine their involvement in metabolic pathways through Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway database using overrepresentation analysis. In our results, most of the upregulated and downregulated genes were involved in at least one subcategory of seven major metabolic pathways. The main objective of this study is to compare the PGC expressed genes and their metabolic pathways with blastoderms, gonadal stromal cells, and chicken embryonic fibroblasts. Among the genes involved in metabolic pathways, a higher number of PGC upregulated genes were identified in retinol metabolism, and a higher number of PGC downregulated genes were identified in sphingolipid metabolism. In terms of the fold change, acyl-CoA synthetase medium-chain family member 3 (ACSM3), which is involved in butanoate metabolism, and N-acetyltransferase, pineal gland isozyme NAT-10 (PNAT10), which is involved in energy metabolism, showed higher expression in PGCs. To validate these gene changes, the expression of 12 nucleotide metabolism-related genes in chicken PGCs was examined by real-time polymerase chain reaction. The results of this study provide new information on the expression of genes associated with metabolism function of PGCs and will facilitate more basic research on animal PGC differentiation and function.
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