Marek’s disease virus challenge induced immune-related gene expression and chicken repeat 1 (CR1) methylation alterations in chickens
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Marek’s disease virus (MDV) challenge induces lymphoma in susceptible chickens. Host genes, especially immune related genes, are activated by the virus. DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that governs gene transcription. In the present study, we found that expression of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) was upregulated at 10 days post infection (dpi) in MD susceptible chickens, whereas interleukin 12A (IL12A) was elevated in both resistant and susceptible chickens. However, we did not observe MDV-induced DNA methylation variations at the promoter CpG islands (CGIs) in STAT1 and IL12A. Interestingly, the methylation levels at Chicken Repeat 1 (CR1), the transposable elements (TEs) located upstream of two genes, were different between resistant and susceptible chickens. Furthermore, a mutation was identified in the CR1 element near IL12A. The impact of the point mutation in transcriptional factor binding is to be examined in the near future.