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item Lunney, Joan

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2005
Publication Date: 1/14/2006
Citation: Lunney, J.K. 2006. Microbe-host interactions workshop. International Plant and Animal Genome XIV Conference. W286. Meeting Abstract. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Our laboratory has focused our efforts on determining immune and genetic factors that result in healthier, more disease resistant pigs. We have used both protein and functional genomic approaches to identify critical markers involved in controlling immune responses to pathogens. An expanded panel of functional assays for immune genes, the Porcine Immunology and Nutrition (PIN) database [; Dawson, 2005] is now available. Using functional genomics we have identified innate immune markers required for effective responses against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), the most economically significant disease facing the swine industry today. Vaccine trials with the University Illinois-Urbana scientists (Zuckermann) showed that the use of interferon-alpha (IFNA) as a novel cytokine vaccine adjuvant improved IFNG responses, but did not alter immune gene expression nor result in improved protection against viral challenge. Genetic resistance studies with University Nebraska-Lincoln scientists (Johnson, Petry) indicated that there are significant differences in lung and bronchial lymph node innate and T helper 1 (Th1) immune gene expression patterns. These correlated with high protein levels of the innate cytokine, interleukin-8 (IL8), in pigs with better resistance to PRRSV. Differential tissue analyses of immune gene expression are underway to determine factors involved in controlling/enabling long-term PRRSV persistence. Comparisons to the fast effective IFNG-dominated Th1 response to the food borne parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, may help reveal key factors that divert anti-PRRSV immunity. Overall these studies should help to genetically select pigs with improved resistance to infections and to the design of better vaccines or therapeutics.