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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #404343

Research Project: Enhancing Genetic Resistance and Vaccinal Response to Control Marek's Disease, Infectious Laryngotracheitis, and Infectious Bursal Disease in Chicken

Location: Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research

Title: Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and immunity in chickens that vary in Marek's disease resistance

item HE, YANGHUA - University Of Hawaii
item TAYLOR, ROBERT - West Virginia University
item BAI, HAO - Yangzhou University
item ASHWELL, CHRISTOPHER - West Virginia University
item ZHAO, KEJI - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item LI, YAOKUN - South China Agricultural Univerisity
item SUN, GUIRONG - Henan Agricultural University
item Zhang, Huanmin
item SONG, JIUZHOU - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2023
Publication Date: 10/11/2023
Citation: He, Y., Taylor, R.L., Bai, H., Ashwell, C.M., Zhao, K., Li, Y., Sun, G., Zhang, H., Song, J. 2023. Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and immunity in chickens that vary in Marek's disease resistance. Poultry Science. 102:12.

Interpretive Summary: Marek's disease virus (MDV) is a naturally oncogenic and highly contagious alpha herpesvirus, which induces lymphomas in Marek's disease (MD) susceptible chickens and continues posing a threat to the world poultry industry. MD outcome is attributable not only to MDV but also to the host genetics and epigenetics. Genetics is about the chromosomal DNA characteristics; epigenetics is about factors that affect gene expression and translation. A better understanding on both the genetics and epigenetics in association to MD would greatly improve the control of MD in chickens. This study reports findings of epigenetic factors by comparing multiple inbred lines of chickens, which may play important roles in modulating tumor incidence and immune response of MDV infected chickens. The findings would benefit both the world poultry industry and public consumers.

Technical Abstract: Marek’s disease virus (MDV), a naturally oncogenic, highly contagious alpha herpesvirus, induces a T cell lymphoma in chickens that causes severe economic loss. Marek’s disease (MD) outcome in an individual is attributed to genetic and environmental factors. DNA methylation is adapted for a specific cellular memory function in individual development. Further investigation of the host-virus interaction mechanisms that impact MD resistance is needed to achieve greater MD control. This study analyzed genome-wide DNA methylation patterns in two highly inbred parental lines 63 and 72 and five recombinant congenic strains (RCS) C, L, M, N and X derived from the parental lines. Lines 63 and 72, are MD resistant and susceptible, respectively, whereas the RCS have different combinations of 87.5% Line 63 and 12.5% Line 72 genome with varied resistance to MD. Our DNA methylation cluster showed a strong association with MD incidence. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) between the parental lines and the five RCS were captured. MD-resistant and MD-susceptible markers of DNA methylation were identified as transgenerational epigenetic inheritable. In addition, the growth of v-src DNA tumors and antibody response against sheep red blood cells differed among the two parental lines and the RCS. Overall, our results provide very solid evidence that DNA methylation patterns are transgenerational epigenetic inheritance (TEI) in chicken and also play a vital role in MD tumorigenesis and other immune responses; the specific methylated regions may be important modulators of general immunity.