Transcriptional response of ovine lung to infection with jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus

Anna Karagianni, Deepali Vasoya, Jeanie Finlayson, Henny Martineau, Ann R. Wood, Chris Cousens, Mark P. Dalgleish, Michael Watson, David J Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV) is the etiologic agent of ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA), a neoplastic lung disease of sheep. OPA is an important economic and welfare issue for sheep farmers and a valuable naturally-occurring animal model for human lung adenocarcinoma. Here, we used RNA sequencing to study the transcriptional response of ovine lung tissue to infection by JSRV. We identified 1,971 ovine genes differentially-expressed in JSRV-infected lung compared to non-infected lung, including many genes with roles in carcinogenesis and immunomodulation. The differential expression of selected genes was confirmed using immunohistochemistry and RT-qPCR. A key finding was the activation of anterior-gradient-2, yes-associated protein-1 and amphiregulin in OPA tumor cells, indicating a role for this oncogenic pathway in OPA. In addition, there was differential expression of genes related to innate immunity including genes encoding cytokines, chemokines and complement system proteins. In contrast, there was little evidence for upregulation of genes involved in T-cell immunity. Many genes related to macrophage function were also differentially expressed, reflecting the increased abundance of these cells in OPA-affected lung tissue. Comparison of the genes differentially regulated in OPA with transcriptional changes occurring in human lung cancer revealed important similarities and differences between OPA and human lung adenocarcinoma. This study provides valuable new information on the pathogenesis of OPA and strengthens the use of this naturally occurring animal model for human lung adenocarcinoma.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Virology
Early online date21 Aug 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Aug 2019


  • JSRV
  • jaagsiekte
  • RNA-Seq
  • lung adenocarcinoma
  • sheep
  • cancer


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