Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Avian Disease and Oncology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #296667

Title: Transcriptional profiling of Meq-dependent genes in Marek’s disease resistant and susceptible inbred chicken lines

item SUBRAMANIAM, SUGALISINI - Michigan State University
item PREEYANON, LIKIT - Michigan State University
item Cheng, Hans

Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/18/2013
Publication Date: 10/21/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Subramaniam, S., Preeyanon, L., Cheng, H.H. 2013. Transcriptional profiling of Meq-dependent genes in Marek’s disease resistant and susceptible inbred chicken lines. PLoS One. 8(10):e78171. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Marek’s disease is a serious disease of poultry caused by the Marek’s disease virus. Meq encodes the viral protein that induces cancer and also is a transcription factor that regulates gene expression, thus, it is important to know the gene targets in chicken that are affected by Meq binding. In this study, we find specific genes and biological pathways that differ between resistance and susceptible birds. This information can be used to select for birds with superior disease resistance, which will ultimately benefit poultry breeders and US consumers.

Technical Abstract: Marek’s disease (MD) is an economically significant disease in chickens caused by the highly oncogenic Marek’s disease virus (MDV). Understanding the genes and biological pathways that confer MD genetic resistance should lead towards the development of more disease resistant commercial poultry flocks or improved MD vaccines. MDV Meq, a bZIP transcription factor, is largely attributed for viral oncogenicity though only a few host target genes have been described, which has impeded our understanding of MDV-induced tumorigenesis. Given the importance of Meq in MDV-induced pathogenesis, we explored the role of Meq in genetic resistance to MDV. Using global transcriptome analysis and cells from MD resistant or susceptible birds, we compared the host response to infection with either wild type MDV or a recombinant lacking Meq. As a result, we identified a number of specific genes and pathways associated with either MD resistance or susceptibility. Integrating prior information from ChIP-seq, microarray analysis, and SNPs exhibiting allele-specific expression (ASE) in response to MDV infection, we were able to provide a evidence for 35 genes that SNPs within transcription factor binding sites can affect transcription factor binding and gene expression in an allele-specific manner.