Special Issue "Avian Viruses and Host Responses"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 September 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jacqueline Smith
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and The Roslin Institute Easter Bush Campus, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, Edinburgh, UK
Interests: avian genomics; chickens; host responses to infection; disease resistance; avian influenza; Marek’s Disease; environmental adaptation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are now living in a time in which the ability to sustainably feed our current and future population is at the forefront of our attention. This comes against the background of a rapidly increasing global population, reduced availability of land for food production, and the presence of drastic climate change. Another particular threat to our food sources comes from disease. Of particular note is the growing demand for poultry products, with the need for egg/meat production to increase dramatically by 2050. One way to try and safeguard this valuable resource, improve animal welfare, and make the industry as economically competitive as possible is to address the question of disease. The effects of avian viruses have huge implications on animal wellbeing, costing the poultry industry billions in losses each year and producing the ever-present risk of zoonoses, with the potential to impact human health. This Special Issue will present a collection of papers describing current knowledge with regard to a range of avian viruses and also the subsequent host responses to these viruses. Understanding the genetics of both the viruses and the host response to infection will enable us to begin to provide a solution to this problem, whether that be from improved vaccines, selective breeding programs, or via future gene editing technologies.

Dr. Jacqueline Smith
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • chicken
  • avian
  • resistance
  • virus
  • immune response
  • vaccine

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Newcastle Disease Virus Induced Pathologies Severely Affect the Exocrine and Endocrine Functions of the Pancreas in Chickens
Genes 2021, 12(4), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12040495 - 29 Mar 2021
Viewed by 300
Abstract
Newcastle disease virus (NDV) causes a highly contagious and devastating disease in poultry. ND causes heavy economic losses to the global poultry industry by decreasing the growth rate, decrease in egg production high morbidity and mortality. Although significant advances have been made in [...] Read more.
Newcastle disease virus (NDV) causes a highly contagious and devastating disease in poultry. ND causes heavy economic losses to the global poultry industry by decreasing the growth rate, decrease in egg production high morbidity and mortality. Although significant advances have been made in the vaccine development, outbreaks are reported in vaccinated birds. In this study, we report the damage caused by NDV infection in the pancreatic tissues of vaccinated and specific-pathogen-free chickens. The histopathological examination of the pancreas showed severe damage in the form of partial depletion of zymogen granules, acinar cell vacuolization, necrosis, apoptosis, congestion in the large and small vessels, sloughing of epithelial cells of the pancreatic duct, and mild perivascular edema. Increased plasma levels of corticosterone and somatostatin were observed in NDV-infected chicken at three- and five- days post infection (DPI). A slight decrease in the plasma concentrations of insulin was noticed at 5 DPI. Significant changes were not observed in the plasma levels of glucagon. Furthermore, NDV infection decreased the activity and mRNA expression of amylase, lipase, and trypsin from the pancreas. Taken together, our findings highlight that NDV induces extensive tissue damage in the pancreas, decreases the activity and expression of pancreatic enzymes, and increases plasma corticosterone and somatostatin. These findings provide new insights that a defective pancreas may be one of the reasons for decreased growth performance after NDV infection in chickens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Viruses and Host Responses)
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Open AccessArticle
Liver Transcriptome Responses to Heat Stress and Newcastle Disease Virus Infection in Genetically Distinct Chicken Inbred Lines
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091067 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 680
Abstract
Heat stress results in reduced productivity, anorexia, and mortality in chickens. The objective of the study was to identify genes and signal pathways associated with heat stress and Newcastle disease virus (NDV) infection in the liver of chickens through RNA-seq analysis, using two [...] Read more.
Heat stress results in reduced productivity, anorexia, and mortality in chickens. The objective of the study was to identify genes and signal pathways associated with heat stress and Newcastle disease virus (NDV) infection in the liver of chickens through RNA-seq analysis, using two highly inbred chicken lines (Leghorn and Fayoumi). All birds were held in the same environment until 14 days of age. On day 14, half the birds were exposed to 38 °C with 50% relative humidity for 4 h, then 35 °C until the end of the experiment. The remaining birds were kept at 25 °C throughout the experiment. The heat-treated birds were inoculated at 21 days of age with 107 EID50 (One EID50 unit is the amount of virus that will infect 50 percent of inoculated embryos) NDV La Sota strain to investigate the effects of both heat stress and NDV infection. Physiological parameters were recorded as blood phenotypes at three stages: acute heat (AH), chronic heat (CH1), and chronic heat combined with NDV infection (CH&NDV), at 4 h, 7 days, and 10 days post-initiation of heat treatment, respectively. Our previous work revealed that the heat-resilient Fayoumi line maintained a more stable acid-base balance in their blood compared to the Leghorn line. Liver samples were harvested on both AH and CH&NDV to characterize the transcriptome profiles of these two inbred lines. Both genetic lines and treatments had large impact on the liver transcriptome. Fayoumi birds had more differentially expressed genes (DEGs) than Leghorn birds for both treatments. Metabolic and immune-related genes were on the DEG list, with Fayoumi having more immune-related DEGs than Leghorns, which was confirmed by gene functional enrichment analysis. Weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA) indicated that the driver genes such as Solute Carrier Family genes could be very important for stabilizing the acid-base balance in Fayoumi birds during heat stress. Therefore, candidate genes such solute carrier family genes could be potential genetic targets that are regulated by Fayoumis to maintain physical hemostasis under heat stress. Differential gene expression showed that Leghorns mainly performed metabolic regulation in response to heat stress and NDV infection, while Fayoumis regulated both immune and metabolic functions. This study provides novel insights and enhances our understandings of liver response to heat stress of heat resilient and susceptible inbred chicken lines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Viruses and Host Responses)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping QTL Associated with Resistance to Avian Oncogenic Marek’s Disease Virus (MDV) Reveals Major Candidate Genes and Variants
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1019; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091019 - 30 Aug 2020
Viewed by 974
Abstract
Marek’s disease (MD) represents a significant global economic and animal welfare issue. Marek’s disease virus (MDV) is a highly contagious oncogenic and highly immune-suppressive α-herpes virus, which infects chickens, causing neurological effects and tumour formation. Though partially controlled by vaccination, MD continues to [...] Read more.
Marek’s disease (MD) represents a significant global economic and animal welfare issue. Marek’s disease virus (MDV) is a highly contagious oncogenic and highly immune-suppressive α-herpes virus, which infects chickens, causing neurological effects and tumour formation. Though partially controlled by vaccination, MD continues to have a profound impact on animal health and on the poultry industry. Genetic selection provides an alternative and complementary method to vaccination. However, even after years of study, the genetic mechanisms underlying resistance to MDV remain poorly understood. The Major Histocompatability Complex (MHC) is known to play a role in disease resistance, along with a handful of other non-MHC genes. In this study, one of the largest to date, we used a multi-facetted approach to identify quantitative trait locus regions (QTLR) influencing resistance to MDV, including an F6 population from a full-sib advanced intercross line (FSIL) between two elite commercial layer lines differing in resistance to MDV, RNA-seq information from virus challenged chicks, and genome wide association study (GWAS) from multiple commercial lines. Candidate genomic elements residing in the QTLR were further tested for association with offspring mortality in the face of MDV challenge in eight pure lines of elite egg-layer birds. Thirty-eight QTLR were found on 19 chicken chromosomes. Candidate genes, microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs and potentially functional mutations were identified in these regions. Association tests were carried out in 26 of the QTLR, using eight pure lines of elite egg-layer birds. Numerous candidate genomic elements were strongly associated with MD resistance. Genomic regions significantly associated with resistance to MDV were mapped and candidate genes identified. Various QTLR elements were shown to have a strong genetic association with resistance. These results provide a large number of significant targets for mitigating the effects of MDV infection on both poultry health and the economy, whether by means of selective breeding, improved vaccine design, or gene-editing technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Viruses and Host Responses)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Inhibitory Effects of Lentogenic Newcastle Disease Virus on Cell Survival and Immune Function in Spleen of Commercial Layer Chicks
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1003; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091003 - 26 Aug 2020
Viewed by 565
Abstract
As a major infectious disease in chickens, Newcastle disease virus (NDV) causes considerable economic losses in the poultry industry, especially in developing countries where there is limited access to effective vaccination. Therefore, enhancing resistance to the virus in commercial chickens through breeding is [...] Read more.
As a major infectious disease in chickens, Newcastle disease virus (NDV) causes considerable economic losses in the poultry industry, especially in developing countries where there is limited access to effective vaccination. Therefore, enhancing resistance to the virus in commercial chickens through breeding is a promising way to promote poultry production. In this study, we investigated gene expression changes at 2 and 6 days post inoculation (dpi) at day 21 with a lentogenic NDV in a commercial egg-laying chicken hybrid using RNA sequencing analysis. By comparing NDV-challenged and non-challenged groups, 526 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) (false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05) were identified at 2 dpi, and only 36 at 6 dpi. For the DEGs at 2 dpi, Ingenuity Pathway Analysis predicted inhibition of multiple signaling pathways in response to NDV that regulate immune cell development and activity, neurogenesis, and angiogenesis. Up-regulation of interferon induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 5 (IFIT5) in response to NDV was consistent between the current and most previous studies. Sprouty RTK signaling antagonist 1 (SPRY1), a DEG in the current study, is in a significant quantitative trait locus associated with virus load at 6 dpi in the same population. These identified pathways and DEGs provide potential targets to further study breeding strategy to enhance NDV resistance in chickens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Viruses and Host Responses)
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Open AccessArticle
Knockout of IRF7 Highlights its Modulator Function of Host Response Against Avian Influenza Virus and the Involvement of MAPK and TOR Signaling Pathways in Chicken
Genes 2020, 11(4), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11040385 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1335
Abstract
Interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) is known as the master transcription factor of the type I interferon response in mammalian species along with IRF3. Yet birds only have IRF7, while they are missing IRF3, with a smaller repertoire of immune-related genes, which leads [...] Read more.
Interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) is known as the master transcription factor of the type I interferon response in mammalian species along with IRF3. Yet birds only have IRF7, while they are missing IRF3, with a smaller repertoire of immune-related genes, which leads to a distinctive immune response in chickens compared to in mammals. In order to understand the functional role of IRF7 in the regulation of the antiviral response against avian influenza virus in chickens, we generated IRF7-/- chicken embryonic fibroblast (DF-1) cell lines and respective controls (IRF7wt) by utilizing the CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated protein 9) system. IRF7 knockout resulted in increased viral titers of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses. Further RNA-sequencing performed on H6N2-infected IRF7-/- and IRF7wt cell lines revealed that the deletion of IRF7 resulted in the significant down-regulation of antiviral effectors and the differential expression of genes in the MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) and mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) signaling pathways. Dynamic gene expression profiling of the host response between the wildtype and IRF7 knockout revealed potential signaling pathways involving AP1 (activator protein 1), NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa B) and inflammatory cytokines that may complement chicken IRF7. Our findings in this study provide novel insights that have not been reported previously, and lay a solid foundation for enhancing our understanding of the host antiviral response against the avian influenza virus in chickens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Viruses and Host Responses)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptomic Analysis of the Chicken MDA5 Response Genes
Genes 2020, 11(3), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030308 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1126
Abstract
RIG-I and MDA5 are two key pattern recognition receptors that sense RNA virus invasion, but RIG-I is absent in chickens. Although chickens have intact MDA5, the genes downstream of chicken MDA5 (chMDA5) that may mediate antiviral response are not well studied. We compared [...] Read more.
RIG-I and MDA5 are two key pattern recognition receptors that sense RNA virus invasion, but RIG-I is absent in chickens. Although chickens have intact MDA5, the genes downstream of chicken MDA5 (chMDA5) that may mediate antiviral response are not well studied. We compared the transcriptional profile of chicken embryonic fibroblasts (DF1) transfected with chMDA5, and poly(I:C), using RNA-seq. Transfected chMDA5 and poly(I:C) in DF1 cells were associated with the marked induction of many antiviral innate immune genes compared with control. Interestingly, nine interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) were listed in the top 15 upregulated genes by chMDA5 and poly(I:C) transfection. We used real-time PCR to confirm the upregulation of the nine ISGs, namely, MX1, IFI6, IFIT5, RSAD2, OASL, CMPK2, HELZ2, EPSTI1, and OLFML1, by chMDA5 and poly(I:C) transfection in DF1 cells. However, avian influenza virus H5N6 infection only increased MX1, IFI6, IFIT5, RSAD2, and OASL expression levels. Further study showed that the overexpression of these five genes could significantly inhibit H5N6 virus replication. These results provide some insights into the gene expression pattern induced by chMDA5, which would be beneficial for understanding and identifying innate immune genes of chicken that may lead to new antiviral therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Viruses and Host Responses)
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