Leptin, a polypeptide hormone secreted mainly by adipose tissue, plays an important role in feed intake regulation, energy metabolism and reproduction in several species. Its function has been intensively studied in mammals; however, in birds limited information is available. The cDNA sequence for chicken leptin has been reported, and high hepatic expression levels of leptin were associated with fat deposition in selected bird lines. However, controversies still remain concerning to the chicken leptin gene and several authors failed to amplify this gene from genomic DNA or cDNA. In view of this controversy and the importance of this gene, the present study aimed to investigate the leptin gene in a population of birds developed by Embrapa Swine and Poultry Research Center (Brazil). First of all, the sequences of Gallus gallus leptin gene (GenBank AF012727) and Mus musculus (GenBank NM_008493) were aligned with the objective of designing primers in conserved regions among the two species, since 94.6% of similarity is described in the literature in those species. For all four pairs of primers designed, several amplification tests were performed with both DNA and cDNA, but neither unique fragment nor expected band size was ever achieved. The leptin sequence in GenBank does not represent the sequence of the chicken leptin gene.
Gallus gallus; fat deposition; primer design