Characterization of lipid metabolism genes and the influence of fatty acid supplementation in the hepatic lipid metabolism of dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus)
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Dusky grouper is an important commercial fish species in many countries, but some factors such as overfishing has significantly reduced their natural stocks. Aquaculture emerges as a unique way to conserve this species, but very little biological information is available, limiting the production of this endangered species. To understand and generate more knowledge about this species, liver transcriptome sequencing and de novo assembly was performed for E. marginatus by Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). Sequences obtained were used as a tool to validate the presence of key genes relevant to lipid metabolism, and their expression was quantified by qPCR. Moreover, we investigated the influence of supplementing different dietary fatty acids on hepatic lipid metabolism. The results showed that the different fatty acids added to the diet dramatically changed the gene expression of some key enzymes associated with lipid metabolism as well as hepatic fatty acid profiles. Elongase 5 gene expression was shown to influence intermediate hepatic fatty acid elongation in all experimental groups. Hepatic triglycerides reflected the diet composition more than hepatic phospholipids, and were characterized mainly by the high percentage of 18:3n3 in animals fed with a linseed oil rich diet. Results for the saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids suggest a self-regulatory potential for retention and oxidation processes in liver, since in general the tissues did not directly reflect these fatty acid diet compositions. These results indicated that genes involved in lipid metabolism pathways might be potential biomarkers to assess lipid requirements in the formulated diet for this species.