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Title: MiRNA expression signatures induced by Marek disease virus infection in chickens

item TIAN, FEI - University Of Maryland
item LUO, JUAN - University Of Maryland
item Zhang, Huanmin
item CHANG, SHUANG - Michigan State University
item SONG, JIUZHOU - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: Genomics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2011
Publication Date: 3/1/2012
Citation: Tian, F., Luo, J., Zhang, H., Chang, S., Song, J. 2012. MiRNA expression signatures induced by Marek disease virus infection in chickens. Genomics. 99(3):152-159. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Marek’s disease (MD) is a viral induced cancer-like disease, which remains as a detrimental threat to the success of poultry industry. In a continuous effort to understand genetic factors that affect the susceptibility or resistance to MD, a class of tiny RNAs (ribonucleic acids) called microRNAs were examined between two lines of chickens. One of the lines is known highly susceptible to MD while the other is highly resistant. We found 24 microRNAs that were very different between the virally infected and non-infected chickens of the susceptible line. In addition, chemical modifications (known as methylation) of some of the microRNAs were also different between the viral-infected and non-infected chickens of the line. These findings will be subjected to further analyses and could lead to enhancements of selection strategies to improve disease resistance of chickens.

Technical Abstract: MMicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Emerging evidence suggests that differential miRNA expression is associated with viral infection and cancer. Marek's disease virus infection induces lymphoma in chickens. However, the host defense response against Marek's disease (MD) progression remains poorly understood. Here, we utilized microarrays to screen miRNAs that were sensitive to Marek's disease virus (MDV) infection. QRT-PCR analysis confirmed the microarray data and revealed expression patterns of some miRNAs in tumor samples. Chicken miRNA gga-miR-15b, which was reduced in infected susceptible chickens and splenic tumors, controlled the expression of ATF2 (activating transcription factor 2). ATF2 was significantly increased in the same group. Our results indicated that differential expression of miRNA in resistant and susceptible chickens was caused by MDV infection, which effectively influenced protein expression of ATF2. This latter result might be related to Marek's disease resistance/susceptibility.