Transcriptome analysis in chicken cecal epithelia upon infection by Eimeria tenella in vivo.
Coccidiosis, caused by various Eimeria species, is a major parasitic disease in chickens. However, our understanding on how chickens respond to coccidian infection is highly limited at both molecular and cellular levels. The present study employed the Affymetrix chicken genome array and performed transcriptome analysis on chicken cecal epithelia in response to infection for 4.5 days in vivo by the cecal-specific species E. tenella. By Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM), we have identified 7,099 probe sets with q-values at <0.05, in which 4,033 and 3,066 genes were found to be up- or down-regulated in response to parasite infection. The reliability of the microarray data were validated by real-time qRT-PCR of 20 genes with varied fold changes in expression (i.e., correlation coefficient between microarray and qRT-PCR datasets: R (2)?=?0.8773, p<0.0001). Gene ontology analysis, KEGG pathway mapping and manual annotations of regulated genes indicated that up-regulated genes were mainly involved in immunity/defense, responses to various stimuli, apoptosis/cell death and differentiation, signal transduction and extracellular matrix (ECM), whereas down-regulated genes were mainly encoding general metabolic enzymes, membrane components, and some transporters. Chickens mustered complex cecal eipthelia molecular and immunological responses in response to E. tenella infection, which included pathways involved in cytokine production and interactions, natural killer cell mediated cytotoxicity, and intestinal IgA production. In response to the pathogenesis and damage caused by infection, chicken cecal epithelia reduced general metabolism, DNA replication and repair, protein degradation, and mitochondrial functions.