African swine fever virus (ASFV) is a macrophage-tropic virus responsible for ASF, a transboundary disease that threatens swine production world-wide. Since there are no vaccines available to control ASF after an outbreak, obtaining an understanding of the virus-host interaction is important for developing new intervention strategies. In this study, a whole transcriptomic RNA-Seq method was used to characterize differentially expressed genes in pigs infected with a low pathogenic ASFV isolate, OUR T88/3 (OURT), or the highly pathogenic Georgia 2007/1 (GRG). After infection, pigs infected with OURT showed no or few clinical signs; whereas, GRG produced clinical signs consistent with acute ASF. RNA-Seq detected the expression of ASFV genes from the whole blood of the GRG, but not the OURT pigs, consistent with the pathotypes of these strains and the replication of GRG in circulating monocytes. Even though GRG and OURT possess different pathogenic properties, there was significant overlap in the most upregulated host genes. A small number of differentially expressed microRNAs were also detected in GRG and OURT pigs. These data confirm previous studies describing the response of macrophages and lymphocytes to ASFV infection, as well as reveal unique gene pathways upregulated in response to infection with GRG.
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