Sarah-Anne David 1 , Anaïs Vitorino Carvalho 1 , Coralie Gimonnet 1 , Aurélien Brionne 1 , Christelle Hennequet-Antier 1 , Benoît Piégu 2 , Sabine Crochet 1 , Nathalie Couroussé 1 , Thierry Bordeau 1 , Yves Bigot 2 , Anne Collin 1 , Vincent Coustham 1
26 November 2019
Changes in gene activity through epigenetic alterations induced by early environmental challenges during embryogenesis are known to impact the phenotype, health, and disease risk of animals. Learning how environmental cues translate into persisting epigenetic memory may open new doors to improve robustness and resilience of developing animals. It has previously been shown that the heat tolerance of male broiler chickens was improved by cyclically elevating egg incubation temperature. The embryonic thermal manipulation enhanced gene expression response in muscle ( P. major) when animals were heat challenged at slaughter age, 35 days post-hatch. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain unknown. Here, we investigated the genome-wide distribution, in hypothalamus and muscle tissues, of two histone post-translational modifications, H3K4me3 and H3K27me3, known to contribute to environmental memory in eukaryotes. We found 785 H3K4me3 and 148 H3K27me3 differential peaks in the hypothalamus, encompassing genes involved in neurodevelopmental, metabolic, and gene regulation functions. Interestingly, few differences were identified in the muscle tissue for which differential gene expression was previously described. These results demonstrate that the response to embryonic thermal manipulation (TM) in chicken is mediated, at least in part, by epigenetic changes in the hypothalamus that may contribute to the later-life thermal acclimation.