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Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00061

Transcriptional innate immune response of the developing chicken embryo to Newcastle disease virus infection

 Megan A. Schilling1, 2, 3,  Robab Katani4, Sahar Memari5, Meredith Cavanaugh5, Joram Buza3,  Jessica Radzio-Basu2, Fulgence N. Mpenda3,  Melissa S. Deist6,  Susan J. Lamont6 and  Vivek Kapur1, 2, 3*
  • 1Animal Science, Pennsylvania State University, United States
  • 2Huck Institute of the Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, United States
  • 3School of Life Sciences and Bio-Engineering, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Tanzania
  • 4Applied Biolological Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, United States
  • 5Biology Department, Pennsylvania State University, United States
  • 6Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, United States

Traditional approaches to assess the immune response of chickens to infection are through animal trials, which are expensive, require enhanced biosecurity, compromise welfare, and are frequently influenced by confounding variables. Since the chicken embryo becomes immunocompetent prior to hatch, we here characterized the transcriptional response of selected innate immune genes to Newcastle Disease virus (NDV) infection in chicken embryos at days 10, 14, and 18 of embryonic development. The results suggest that the innate immune response 72 hours after challenge of 18-day chicken embryo is both consistent and robust. The expression of CCL5, Mx1, and TLR3 in lung tissues of NDV challenged chicken embryos from the outbred Kuroiler and Tanzanian local ecotype lines showed that their expression was several orders of magnitude higher in the Kuroiler than in the local ecotypes. Next, the expression patterns of three additional innate immunity related genes, IL-8, IRF-1, and STAT1, were examined in the highly congenic Fayoumi (M5.1 and M15.2) and Leghorn (Ghs6 and Ghs13) sublines that differ only at the microchromosome bearing the major histocompatibility locus. The results show that the Ghs13 Leghorn subline had a consistently higher expression of all genes except IL-8 and expression seemed to be subline-dependent rather than breed-dependent, suggesting that the innate response of chicken embryo to NDV infection may be genetically controlled by MHC-locus. Taken together, the results suggest that the chicken embryo may represent a promising model to studying the patterns and sources of variation of the avian innate immune response to infection with NDV and related pathogens.

Keywords: Backyard poultry, chicken embryo, Newcastle disease virus, innate immune response, Transcription, Genetic

Received: 27 Sep 2017; Accepted: 09 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Mark S. Fife, Pirbright Institute (BBSRC), United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Jacqueline Smith, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Androniki Psifidi, Royal Veterinary College, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2018 Schilling, Katani, Memari, Cavanaugh, Buza, Radzio-Basu, Mpenda, Deist, Lamont and Kapur. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Vivek Kapur, Pennsylvania State University, Animal Science, 204 Wartik Lab, University Park, 16801, PA, United States,