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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Avian Disease and Oncology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #302857

Title: Histone modifications induced by MDV infection at early cytolytic and latency phases

item MITRA, APRATIM - University Of Maryland
item LUO, JUAN - University Of Maryland
item HE, YANGHUA - University Of Maryland
item GU, YULAN - University Of Maryland
item Zhang, Huanmin
item ZHAO, KEJI - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item CUI, KAIRONG - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item SONG, JIUZHOU - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: BMC Genomics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/27/2015
Publication Date: 4/18/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Mitra, A., Luo, J., He, Y., Gu, Y., Zhang, H., Zhao, K., Cui, K., Song, J. 2015. Histone modifications induced by MDV infection at early cytolytic and latency phases. Biomed Central (BMC) Genomics. 16:311. doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1492-6.

Interpretive Summary: Marek’s disease (MD) is a highly contagious disease of chickens induced by Marek’s disease viruses (MDV), which causes major economic losses to the poultry industry. In this study, chromatin signatures, the characteristics of DNA and protein complex package within the nucleus of a cell, induced by the MDV were investigated. Genome-wide variability in chromatins was observed post MDV infection in two lines of chickens, which are resistant or susceptible to MD. The findings suggested MD resistance is further involved with chromatin changes in response to MDV infection and advanced our understanding on the genetic mechanism underlying disease resistance in poultry.

Technical Abstract: Background: Marek’s disease (MD) is a highly contagious, lymphomatous disease of chickens induced by a herpesvirus, Marek’s disease virus (MDV) that is the cause of major annual losses to the poultry industry. MD pathogenesis involves multiple stages including an early cytolytic phase and latency, and transitions between these stages are governed by several host and environmental factors. The success of vaccination strategies has led to the increased virulence of MDV and selective breeding of naturally resistant chickens is seen as a viable alternative. While multiple gene expression studies have been performed in resistant and susceptible populations, little is known about the epigenetic effects of infection. Results: In this study, we investigated temporal chromatin signatures induced by MDV by analyzing early cytolytic and latent phases of infection in the bursa of Fabricius of MD-resistant and –susceptible birds. Major global variations in chromatin marks were observed at different stages of MD in the two lines. Differential H3K27me3 marks were associated with immune-related pathways, such as MAP kinase signaling, focal adhesion and neuroactive ligand receptor interaction, and suggested varying degrees of silencing in response to infection. Immune-related microRNAs, e.g. gga-miR-155 and gga-miR-10b, bore chromatin signatures, which suggested their contribution to MD-susceptibility. Finally, several members of the focal adhesion pathway, e.g. THBS4 and ITGA1, showed marked concordance between gene expression and chromatin marks indicating putative epigenetic regulation in response to MDV infection. Conclusion: Our comprehensive analysis of chromatin signatures, therefore, revealed further clues about the epigenetic effects of MDV infection although further studies are necessary to elucidate the functional implications of the observed variations in histone modifications.