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Macrophages from Susceptible and Resistant Chicken Lines have Different Transcriptomes following Marek’s Disease Virus Infection

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2019


Despite successful control by vaccination, Marek’s disease (MD) has continued evolving to greater virulence over recent years. To control MD, selection and breeding of MD-resistant chickens might be a suitable option. MHC-congenic inbred chicken lines, 61 and 72, are highly resistant and susceptible to MD, respectively, but the cellular and genetic basis for these phenotypes is unknown. MD virus (MDV) infects macrophages, B-cells and activated T-cells in vivo. This study investigates the cellular basis of resistance to MD in vitro with the hypothesis that resistance is determined by cells active during the innate immune response. Chicken bone marrow-derived macrophages from lines 61 and 72 were infected with MDV in vitro. Flow cytometry showed that a higher percentage of macrophages were infected in line 72 than in line 61. A transcriptomic study followed by in silico functional analysis of differentially expressed genes was then carried out between the two lines pre- and post-infection. Analysis supports the hypothesis that macrophages from susceptible and resistant chicken lines display a marked difference in their transcriptome following MDV infection. Resistance to infection, differential activation of biological pathways and suppression of oncogenic potential are among host defense strategies identified in macrophages from resistant chickens.

    Research areas

  • chickens, Marek's disease virus, disease resistance, macrophages, RNA - sequence

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