The immune cell landscape and response of Marek’s disease resistant and susceptible chickens infected with Marek’s disease virus

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Warren, Wesley C.
Rice, Edward S.
Meyer, Ashley
Hearn, Cari J.
Steep, Alec
Hunt, Henry D.
Monson, Melissa S.
Cheng, Hans H.
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Lamont, Susan
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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Genetically resistant or susceptible chickens to Marek’s disease (MD) have been widely used models to identify the molecular determinants of these phenotypes. However, these prior studies lacked the basic identification and understanding of immune cell types that could be translated toward improved MD control. To gain insights into specific immune cell types and their responses to Marek’s disease virus (MDV) infection, we used single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) on splenic cells from MD resistant and susceptible birds. Totally, 14,378 cells formed clusters that identified various immune cell types. Lymphocytes, specifically T cell subtypes, were the most abundant with significant proportional changes in some subtypes upon infection. The largest number of differentially expressed genes (DEG) response was seen in granulocytes, while macrophage DEGs differed in directionality by subtype and line. Among the most DEG in almost all immune cell types were granzyme and granulysin, both associated with cell-perforating processes. Protein interactive network analyses revealed multiple overlapping canonical pathways within both lymphoid and myeloid cell lineages. This initial estimation of the chicken immune cell type landscape and its accompanying response will greatly aid efforts in identifying specific cell types and improving our knowledge of host response to viral infection.
This preprint is made available through Research Square at doi:10.21203/

This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 License.
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