RNA Sequencing revealed differentially expressed genes functionally associated with immunity and tumor suppression during latent phase infection of a vv + MDV in chickens

Kunzhe Dong, Shuang Chang, Qingmei Xie, Peng Zhao, Huanmin Zhang

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Very virulent plus Marek’s disease (MD) virus (vv + MDV) induces tumors in relatively resistant lines of chickens and early mortality in highly susceptible lines of chickens. The vv + MDV also triggers a series of cellular responses in both types of chickens. We challenged birds sampled from a highly inbred chicken line (line 63) that is relatively resistant to MD and from another inbred line (line 72) that is highly susceptible to MD with a vv + MDV. RNA-sequencing analysis was performed with samples extracted from spleen tissues taken at 10-day and 21-day post infection (dpi). A total of 64 and 106 differentially expressed genes was identified in response to the vv + MDV challenge at latent phase in the resistant and susceptible lines of chickens, respectively. Direct comparisons between samples of the two lines identified 90 and 126 differentially expressed genes for control and MDV challenged groups, respectively. The differentially expressed gene profiles illustrated that intensive defense responses were significantly induced by vv + MDV at 10 dpi and 21 dpi but with slight changes in the resistant line. In contrast, vv + MDV induced a measurable suppression of gene expression associated with host defense at 10 dpi but followed by an apparent activation of the defense response at 21 dpi in the susceptible line of chickens. The observed difference in gene expression between the two genetic lines of chickens in response to MDV challenge during the latent phase provided a piece of indirect evidence that time points for MDV reactivation differ between the genetic lines of chickens with different levels of genetic resistance to MD. Early MDV reactivation might be necessary and potent to host defense system readiness for damage control of tumorigenesis and disease progression, which consequently results in measurable differences in phenotypic characteristics including early mortality (8 to 20 dpi) and tumor incidence between the resistant and susceptible lines of chickens. Combining differential gene expression patterns with reported GO function terms and quantitative trait loci, a total of 27 top genes was selected as highly promising candidate genes for genetic resistance to MD. These genes are functionally involved with virus process (F13A1 and HSP90AB1), immunity (ABCB1LB, RGS5, C10ORF58, OSF-2, MMP7, CXCL12, GAL1, GAL2, GAL7, HVCN1, PDE4D, IL4I1, PARP9, EOMES, MPEG1, PDK4, CCLI10, K60 and FST), and tumor suppression (ADAMTS2, LXN, ARRDC3, WNT7A, CLDN1 and HPGD). It is anticipated that these findings will facilitate advancement in the fundamental understanding on mechanisms of genetic resistance to MD. In addition, such advancement may also provide insights on tumor virus-induced tumorigenesis in general and help the research community recognize MD study may serve as a good model for oncology study involving tumor viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14182
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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