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Comparative transcriptomics of genetically divergent lines of chickens in response to Marek's disease virus challenge at cytolytic phase

Dong, Kunzhe, Chang, Shuang, Xie, Qingmei, Black-Pyrkosz, Alexis, Zhang, Huanmin
Plos One 2017 v.12 no.6 pp. 1-16
Mardivirus, Marek disease, chickens, control methods, cytolysis, disease resistance, genes, genetic resistance, genetic variation, immune response, immunosuppression, inbred lines, poultry industry, transcriptomics, vaccination, virulence, viruses
Marek's disease (MD), caused by Marek's disease virus (MDV), remains an economically significant threat to the poultry industry worldwide. Genetic resistance to MD is a promising alternative strategy to augment current control measures (vaccination and management). However, only a few functional genes reportedly conferring MD resistance have been identified. Here, we performed a comparative transcriptomics analysis of two highly inbred yet genetically divergent lines of chickens (line 63 and 72) that are resistant and susceptible to MD, respectively, in response to a very virulent plus strain of MDV (vv+MDV) challenge at cytolytic phase. A total of 203 DEGs in response to MDV challenge were identified in the two lines. Of these, 96 DEGs were in common for both lines, in addition to 36 and 71 DEGs that were specific for line 63 and 72, respectively. Functional enrichment analysis results showed the DEGs were significantly enriched in GO terms and pathways associated with immune response. Especially, the four DEGs, FGA, ALB, FN1, and F13A1 that reportedly facilitate virus invasion or immunosuppression, were found to be significantly up-regulated in the susceptible line 72 but down-regulated in the resistant line 63 birds. These results provide new resources for future studies to further elucidate the genetic mechanism conferring MD resistance.