Genome-wide survey and functional analysis reveal TCF21 promotes chicken preadipocyte differentiation by directly upregulating HTR2A

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2022 Jan 8;587:131-138. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2021.11.103. Epub 2021 Nov 30.


Background/aim: Previously, we showed that transcription factor 21 (TCF21) promotes chicken preadipocyte differentiation. However, the genome-wide TCF21 binding sites and its downstream target genes in chicken adipogenesis were unknown.

Methods: ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq were used to screen candidate targets of TCF21. qPCR and luciferase reporter assay were applied to verify the sequencing results. Western blotting, oil red-O staining and pharmacological treatments were performed to investigate the function of 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 2A (HTR2A), one of the bonafide direct downstream binding targets of TCF21.

Results: A total of 94 candidate target genes of TCF21 were identified. ChIP-qPCR, RT-qPCR, and luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that HTR2A is one of the bonafide direct downstream binding targets of TCF21. HTR2A expression in adipose tissue was upregulated in fat line broilers. Also, the abundance of HTR2A gradually increased during the adipogenesis process. Interestingly, pharmacological enhancement or inhibition of HTR2A promoted or attenuated the differentiation of preadipocytes, respectively. Furthermore, HTR2A inhibition impaired the TCF21 promoted adipogenesis.

Conclusions: We profiled the genome-wide TCF21 binding sites in chicken differentiated preadipocytes revealing HTR2A as the direct downstream target of TCF21 in adipogenesis.

Keywords: Adipogenesis; ChIP-Seq; HTR2A; RNA-Seq; TCF21.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects
  • Adipogenesis / genetics*
  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Amphetamines / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Avian Proteins / genetics*
  • Avian Proteins / metabolism
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Chickens / genetics*
  • Chickens / growth & development
  • Chickens / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Genome*
  • Ketanserin / pharmacology
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Male
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A / genetics*
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A / metabolism
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Amphetamines
  • Avian Proteins
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Ketanserin
  • Luciferases
  • 4-iodo-2,5-dimethoxyphenylisopropylamine