Open Access Research article

Genome-wide differential gene expression in immortalized DF-1 chicken embryo fibroblast cell line

Byung-Whi Kong1*, Jeong Yoon Lee1, Walter G Bottje1, Kentu Lassiter1, Jonghyuk Lee2 and Douglas N Foster3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Poultry Science, Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, USA

2 Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA

3 Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:571  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-571

Published: 23 November 2011



When compared to primary chicken embryo fibroblast (CEF) cells, the immortal DF-1 CEF line exhibits enhanced growth rates and susceptibility to oxidative stress. Although genes responsible for cell cycle regulation and antioxidant functions have been identified, the genome-wide transcription profile of immortal DF-1 CEF cells has not been previously reported. Global gene expression in primary CEF and DF-1 cells was performed using a 4X44K chicken oligo microarray.


A total of 3876 differentially expressed genes were identified with a 2 fold level cutoff that included 1706 up-regulated and 2170 down-regulated genes in DF-1 cells. Network and functional analyses using Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA, Ingenuity® Systems, webcite) revealed that 902 of 3876 differentially expressed genes were classified into a number of functional groups including cellular growth and proliferation, cell cycle, cellular movement, cancer, genetic disorders, and cell death. Also, the top 5 gene networks with intermolecular connections were identified. Bioinformatic analyses suggested that DF-1 cells were characterized by enhanced molecular mechanisms for cell cycle progression and proliferation, suppressing cell death pathways, altered cellular morphogenesis, and accelerated capacity for molecule transport. Key molecules for these functions include E2F1, BRCA1, SRC, CASP3, and the peroxidases.


The global gene expression profiles provide insight into the cellular mechanisms that regulate the unique characteristics observed in immortal DF-1 CEF cells.