The cDNA of an uncoupling protein (UCP) homologue was obtained by screening a chicken skeletal-muscle library. The predicted 307-amino-acid sequence of avian UCP (avUCP) is 55, 70, 70 and 46% identical with mammalian UCP1, UCP2 and UCP3 and plant UCP respectively. avUCP mRNA expression is restricted to skeletal muscle and its abundance was increased 1.3-fold in a chicken line showing diet-induced thermogenesis, and 3.6- and 2.6-fold in cold-acclimated and glucagon-treated ducklings developing muscle non-shivering thermogenesis respectively. The present data support the implication of avUCP in avian energy expenditure.

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