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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Identification of Gene Networks and Classifier Genes Involved in Pig Responses to Prrsv Infection and Growth Maintenance

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The specific objectives of this agreement include Identify differentially expressed (DE) genes in blood in response to PRRSV infection; Determine putative gene sets and pathways that predict a pig's ability to clear PRRSV infection and maintain weight gain; and Validate utility of gene sets and pathways for prediction of responsiveness to PRRSV infections in multiple populations. Predictive blood tests of pigs with improved PRRS disease resistance and growth maintenance; increased understanding of mechanisms involved in pig responses to PRRSV infection; scientific publications.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Washington State University (WSU) will contribute to the first and third objectives. The first objective WSU will search public databases and use bioinformatic tools to examine the transcriptome of alveolar macrophages in response to PRRSV infection. This data will serve as a reference to determine what genes are expressed exclusively or predominantly in response to PRRS infection and compared to Michigan State University full transcriptome data. For the third objective, WSU will annotate specific porcine genes manually using comparative annotation procedures for retrieval of both cDNA and genomic DNA sequences of each gene identified in the second objective. WSU will then detect putative splicing forms in each of selected DE pig genes using three approaches – comparative analysis in mammals, EST evidence and PCR screening. The different sizes of products will be sequenced and the tentative splicing forms examined. Primers will be designed to target different splicing form and RT-PCR carried out to examine which form is most abundantly expressed in high or low responders to PRRSV infection.


3.Progress Report

This agreement reports on functional genomic analyses to determine response pathways that differ in porcine respiratory and the reproductive syndrome (PRRS) resistant versus susceptible PRRS Host Genetics Consortium (PHGC) pigs. ARS Researchers at Beltsville, MD have partnered with Washington State University scientists to use PHGC samples to assess whole blood gene expression responses to identify genes and pathways that are associated with pigs that clear PRRS virus (PRRSV) and that grow well despite PRRSV infection. At WSU comparative bioinformatic tools are being used to annotate specific porcine genes, and their splice variants, to determine whether they are differentially expressed in samples from PHGC populations with high or low viral load and/or weight gain. If abundantly expressed splice variants can be identified they may serve as key biomarkers of anti-PRRS responses. As this work progresses we expect to develop predictive gene expression pathways and classifier genes that identify pigs which resist PRRSV infection and grow normally. (NP103 2c)

This project was monitored through regular email and phone contact, scheduled conference calls, and a yearly Consortium meeting with the participating labs discussing project plans, experimental design, and reviewing data and presentation options.


Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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