July 23, 2020

Wednesday's Recap: Cell Biology Symposium

Cell Biology Symposium

By Anne Zinn

On the morning of Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the Cell Biology Symposium took place as part of the ASAS-CSAS-WSASAS Virtual Annual Meeting. To begin, David Eckersall, Professor at the University of Glasgow, presented on the use of quantitative proteomics in animal and veterinary science, a technique used to increase understanding of physiological and pathophysiological challenges and to identify potential biomarkers of disease in a range of animal species. Eckersall explained that a pipeline of sample preparation and mass spectrometry followed by advanced analyses has been established to deal with biofluids and tissue samples from cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats as well as wild animals; this pipeline can be incorporated into many areas of research, providing novel findings at the forefront of animal and veterinary science. Eckersall concluded his talk by emphasizing that this proteomic investigation requires close interdisciplinary collaboration between experts in order to fully exploit technological advances.

To follow, Shengfa Liao, Associate Professor at Mississippi State University, presented on the application and best practices of RNA sequencing technique in nutrigenomics studies in swine. Liao explained that although RNA sequencing methodology is a powerful quantitative tool for transcriptomics analysis, it still has various technical challenges and pitfalls throughout its practice steps, and there are many options available for use in some steps of analysis; Liao emphasized how important it is to understand all options to be able to make the right decisions in experiment and analysis design, which ultimately can help to avoid inconclusive results. Liao’s goal was to provide basic guidelines for researchers new to the field and to promote a discussion of standardization of RNA sequencing methodology  for animal nutrigenomics studies.

To conclude the session, George Liu (USDA ARS) presented results of a study analyzing inter-individual variations of sperm DNA methylation and their potential implications in cattle. Liu explained that DNA methylation has been shown to be involved in many biological processes, such as X chromosome inactivation in females and paternal genomic imprinting. Results of this study demonstrated associations of sperm DNA methylation with reproduction traits, highlighting the potential of epigenomic information in genomic improvement programs for cattle.

The full recording of the Cell Biology Symposium will be available on the ASAS-CSAS-WSASAS Virtual Annual Meeting website.