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Transcriptome Analysis Reveals the Immune Response of Chicken Erythrocytes to Marek’s Disease Virus Infection

Transcriptome Analysis Reveals the Immune Response of Chicken Erythrocytes to Marek’s Disease Virus Infection

Guan-bao Ning1, Sheng Niu1, Yue-jian Li1,2, Xiao-xiao Lu1,3, Shi-xiong Yang1,  Ali-Raza Jahejo1, Ding Zhang1, Wei-fang Hao4, Wen-wei Gao1, Yu-jun Zhao1, Jian-hui Li1, Fang Yan1, Rong-kun Gao1, Yu-hai Bi1,5, Wen-xia Tian1* and Ling-xia Han6*

1College of Veterinary Medicine, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu 030801, China
2Weinan Animal Health Supervision Institute, Weinan 714000, China
3Wenxian Forestry Bureau, Wenxian 454850, China
4Taiyuan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Taiyuan 030024, China
5CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Disease, Institute of Microbiology, Center for Influenza Research and Early-warning (CASCIRE), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
6Unit of Laboratory Animal and Comparative Medicine, State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Harbin 150001, China
Guan-bao Ning and Sheng Niu contributed equally to this study.

*      Corresponding author:;


Marek’s disease virus (MDV) is a highly cell-associated, oncogenic alpha herpesvirus that causes Marek’s disease (MD) in chickens. Chicken erythrocytes are nucleated cells of myeloid origin which contribute to gases exchange, transportation and immunity. The objective of this study was to reveal the immune responses of MDV-infected erythrocytes of chicken by transcriptome analysis. Twenty specific pathogen-free (SPF) chickens were divided into two groups as control and treatment. The chickens of treatment group were inoculated with MDV, and blood samples of two groups were obtained at 14 and 22 days post-infection (dpi) for RNA extraction. Transcriptome analysis was performed to explore the immune responses of chicken erythrocytes to MDV infection at 14 dpi and 22 dpi. In total, 129.6 million reads of two groups at two time points were mapped against the reference genome (Gallusgallus 5.0). A significant differential pattern of the immune response of chicken erythrocytes was identified by the GO and KEGG databases between the two phases of MDV infection. The results indicated that cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, toll-like receptor signaling pathway, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) signaling pathway, Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathway were involved in the response to MDV infection. The expression levels of all most differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in these four pathways were upregulated significantly at 14 and 22 dpi, indicating that the immune responses of erythrocytes were induced by MDV. This study may help to elucidate the molecular mechanism of chicken erythrocytes relate to immune responses in MDV infection.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology


Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 2, pp. 503-1000


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