Main content area

Eimeria maxima-induced transcriptional changes in the cecal mucosa of broiler chickens

Li, Charles, Yan, Xianghe, Lillehoj, Hyun S., Oh, Sungtaek, Liu, Liheng, Sun, Zhifeng, Gu, Changqin, Lee, Youngsub, Xianyu, Zhezi, Zhao, Hongyan
Parasites & vectors 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 285
Eimeria maxima, Protozoa, biochemical pathways, broiler chickens, coccidiosis, computer software, control methods, endoplasmic reticulum, gene expression regulation, gene ontology, host-parasite relationships, immune response, immunoglobulins, major histocompatibility complex, messenger RNA, mucosa, muscle contraction, poultry diseases, sequence analysis, signal transduction, smooth muscle, transcription (genetics), transcriptome, unigenes
BACKGROUND: Apicomplexan protozoans of the genus Eimeria cause coccidiosis, one of the most economically relevant parasitic diseases in chickens. The lack of a complete understanding of molecular mechanisms in the host-parasite interaction limits the development of effective control measures. In the present study, RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was applied to investigate the host mRNA profiles of the cecal mucosa collected at day 5 post-infection with Eimeria maxima (EM). RESULTS: Total RNA from cecal samples of the uninfected naïve control and the EM groups was used to make libraries, generating 354,924,372 and 356,229,250 usable reads, respectively, which were assembled into a total of 386,088 high-quality unigenes (transcripts) in Trinity software. RNA-Seq analysis of cecal samples in the two groups revealed 332 upregulated and 363 downregulated genes with significant differences (P ≤ 0.05), including several significant immune-related gene families, such as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I alpha chain, granzyme A and immunoglobulin subtype genes among upregulated differentially expressed genes. In addition, a total of 60 clusters of differentiation (CD) molecular genes and 570 novel genes were found. The completeness of the assembled transcriptome was further assessed using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database, Gene ontology (GO), eggNOG and CAZy for gene annotation. The broad gene categories represented by the highly differentiated host genes suggested enrichment in immune responses, and downregulation in the metabolic pathway, MARK signaling pathway, vascular smooth muscle contraction, and proteins processing in endoplasmic reticulum after EM infection. CONCLUSIONS: Eimeria maxima induced statistically significant differences in the cecal mucosal gene expression of infected chickens. These findings provide new insights into the host-parasite interaction and enhance our understanding of the molecular mechanism of avian coccidiosis.