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Open Access Research article

Gene expression profiling in chicken heterophils with Salmonella enteritidis stimulation using a chicken 44 K Agilent microarray

Hsin-I Chiang1, Christina L Swaggerty2, Michael H Kogut2*, Scot E Dowd3, Xianyao Li1, Igal Y Pevzner4 and Huaijun Zhou1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Poultry Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA

2 United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, College Station, TX 77845, USA

3 Research and Testing Laboratories and Medical Biofilm Research Institute, Lubbock, TX 79407, USA

4 Cobb-Vantress, Inc., Siloam Springs, AR 72761, USA

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9:526  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-526

Published: 6 November 2008

Abstract

Background

Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE) is one of the most common food-borne pathogens that cause human salmonellosis and usually results from the consumption of contaminated poultry products. The mechanism of SE resistance in chickens remains largely unknown. Previously, heterophils isolated from broilers with different genetic backgrounds (SE-resistant [line A] and -susceptible [line B]) have been shown to be important in defending against SE infections. To dissect the interplay between heterophils and SE infection, we utilized large-scale gene expression profiling.

Results

The results showed more differentially expressed genes were found between different lines than between infection (SE-treated) and non-infection (control) samples within line. However, the numbers of expressed immune-related genes between these two comparisons were dramatically different. More genes related to immune function were down-regulated in line B than line A. The analysis of the immune-related genes indicated that SE infection induced a stronger, up-regulated gene expression of line heterophils A than line B, and these genes include several components in the Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway, and genes involved in T-helper cell activation.

Conclusion

We found: (1) A divergent expression pattern of immune-related genes between lines of different genetic backgrounds. The higher expression of immune-related genes might be more beneficial to enhance host immunity in the resistant line; (2) a similar TLR regulatory network might exist in both lines, where a possible MyD88-independent pathway may participate in the regulation of host innate immunity; (3) the genes exclusively differentially expressed in line A or line B with SE infection provided strong candidates for further investigating SE resistance and susceptibility. These findings have laid the foundation for future studies of TLR pathway regulation and cellular modulation of SE infection in chickens.