Background: Melanin is an important antioxidant in food, and has been used in medicine and cosmetology. Chicken meat with high melanin content from black-boned chickens have been considered a high nutritious food with potential medicinal properties. The molecular mechanism of melanogenesis of skeletal muscle in black-boned chickens remain poorly understood. This study investigated the biological gene-metabolite associations regulating the muscle melanogenesis pathways in Wuliangshan black-boned chickens with two normal boned chicken breeds as control.
Results: We identified 25 differentially expressed genes and 11 transcription factors in the melanogenesis pathways. High levels of the meat flavor compounds inosine monophosphate, hypoxanthine, lysophospholipid, hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid, and nicotinamide mononucleotide were found in Wuliangshan black-boned chickens.
Conclusion: Integrative analysis of transcriptomics and metabolomics revealed the dual physiological functions of the PDZK1 gene, involved in pigmentation and/or melanogenesis and regulating the phospholipid signaling processes in muscle of black boned chickens.