2018 Volume 55 Issue 2 Pages 120-136
Heat stress hampers egg production and lowers fertility in layers. This study investigated global protein abundance in the small yellow follicles (SYFs, 6–8 mm diameter) of a broiler-type strain of Taiwan country chickens (TCCs) under acute heat stress. Twelve 30-week-old TCC hens were allocated to a control group maintained at 25°C, and to three acute heat-stressed groups subjected to 38°C for 2 h without recovery, with 2-h recovery, or with 6-h recovery. Two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis analysis identified 119 significantly differentially expressed proteins after acute heat exposure. Gene ontology analysis revealed that most of these proteins are involved in molecular binding (34%), catalytic activity (23%), and structural molecule activity (11%), and participate in metabolic processes (20%), cellular processes (20%), and cellular component organization or biogenesis (11%). Proteins associated with stress response and survival (HSP25, HSP47, HSP70, HSC70, HSPA9), cytoskeleton remodeling, mitochondrial metabolic process of ATP production, antioxidative defense (peroxiredoxin-6), cargo lipid export and delivery (vitellogenin, apolipoprotein B and A1), and toxin/metabolite clearance and delivery (albumin) were upregulated after acute heat stress in the SYFs of TCCs. No overt cell death and atresia were observed in SYFs after acute heat stress. Collectively, these responses may represent a protective mechanism to maintain follicle cell integrity and survival, thereby ensuring a sufficient pool of SYFs for selection into the ovulation hierarchy for successful egg production.