Dynamics of rumen gene expression, microbiome colonization, and their interplay in goats


Background: Preweaned rumen development is vital for animal health and efficient fermentation. In this study, we integrated ruminal transcriptomic and metagenomic data to explore the dynamics of rumen functions, microbial colonization, and their functional interactions during the first 8 weeks of life in goats. Results: The dynamic rumen transcriptomic and microbial profiles both exhibited two distinct phases during early rumen development. The differentially expressed genes of the rumen transcriptome between the two phases showed that the immune-related response was enriched in the first phase and nutrient-related metabolism was enriched in the second phase, whereas the differentially expressed genes of the rumen microbiome were enriched in bacteriocin biosynthesis and glycolysis/gluconeogenesis activities. The developmental shift in the rumen transcriptome (at d 21) was earlier than the feed stimulus (at d 25) and the shift in the rumen microbiome (at d 42). Additionally, 15 temporal dynamic rumen gene modules and 20 microbial modules were revealed by coexpression network analysis. Functional correlations between the rumen and its microbiome were primarily involved in rumen pH homeostasis, nitrogen metabolism and the immune response. Rumen gene modules associated with the microbial alpha diversity index were also enriched in the immune response process. Conclusions: The present study touched the critical developmental process of rumen functions, microbial colonization and their functional interactions during preweaned development. Taken together, these results demonstrated that rumen development at the first phase is more likely a programmed process rather than stimulation from feed and the microbiome, while the shift of rumen metagenomes was likely regulated by both the diet and host. The intensive functional correlations between rumen genes and the microbiome demonstrated that synergistic processes occurred between them during early rumen development.

Publication Title

BMC Genomics