Bursal transcriptome profiling of different inbred chicken lines reveals key differentially expressed genes at 3 days post-infection with very virulent infectious bursal disease virus

Infectious bursal disease is a highly contagious disease in the poultry industry and causes immunosuppression in chickens. Genome-wide regulations of immune response genes of inbred chickens with different genetic backgrounds, following very virulent infectious bursal disease virus (vvIBDV) infection are poorly characterized. Therefore, this study aims to analyse the bursal tissue transcriptome of six inbred chicken lines 6, 7, 15, N, O and P following infection with vvIBDV strain UK661 using strand-specific next-generation sequencing, by highlighting important genes and pathways involved in the infected chicken during peak infection at 3?days post-infection. All infected chickens succumbed to the infection without major variations among the different lines. However, based on the viral loads and bursal lesion scoring, lines P and 6 can be considered as the most susceptible lines, while lines 15 and N were regarded as the least affected lines. Transcriptome profiling of the bursa identified 4588 genes to be differentially expressed, with 2985 upregulated and 1642 downregulated genes, in which these genes were commonly or uniquely detected in all or several infected lines. Genes that were upregulated are primarily pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and IFN-related. Various genes that are associated with B-cell functions and genes related to apoptosis were downregulated, together with the genes involved in p53 signalling. In conclusion, bursal transcriptome profiles of different inbred lines showed differential expressions of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, Th1 cytokines, JAK-STAT signalling genes, MAPK signalling genes, and their related pathways following vvIBDV infection.

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