Purinergic signaling during Marek’s disease in chickens

Haji Akbar, Julia J. Fasick, Nagendraprabhu Ponnuraj, Keith W. Jarosinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purinergic receptors (PRs) have been reported as potential therapeutic targets for many viral infections including herpesviruses, which urges the investigation into their role in Marek’s disease (MD), a herpesvirus induced cancer in chickens that is an important pathogen for the poultry industry. MD is caused by MD virus (MDV) that has a similar viral life cycle as human varicella zoster virus in that it is shed from infected epithelial skin cells and enters the host through the respiratory route. In this report, PR responses during natural MDV infection and disease progression was examined in MD-resistant white Leghorns (WL) and MD-susceptible Pure Columbian (PC) chickens during natural infection. Whole lung lavage cells (WLLC) and liver tissue samples were collected from chickens infected but showing no clinical signs of MD (Infected) or presenting with clinical disease (Diseased). RNA was extracted followed by RT-qPCR analysis with gene specific primers against members of the P1, P2X, and P2Y PR families. Differential expression (p < 0.05) was observed in breed and disease conditions. Some PRs showed tissue specific expression (P1A1, P2X1, and P2X6 in WLLC) whereas others responded to MDV infection only in MD-susceptible (PC) chickens (P1A2A, P2X1, P2X5, P2X7). P2Y PRs had differential expression in both chicken lines in response to MDV infection and MD progression. This study is the first to our knowledge to examine PR responses during MDV infection and disease progression. These results suggest PR signaling may an important area of research for MDV replication and MD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2044
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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