Changes in Liver Gene Expression Indicate Genetic Pathways Associated with Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Infection in Wild Rabbits

Nina Schwensow, Brian Cooke, Joerns Fickel, Walburga Lutz, Simone Sommer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is of worldwide significance for both, domestic and wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). While the loss of natural populations of wild rabbits in south-western Europe is of major conservation concern because rabbits are a key-stone species in natural ecosystems, the virus has been successfully used as a biological control of pest rabbits in Australia. However, rabbit numbers in Australia are currently rising again suggesting ongoing host adaptive changes. Accordingly, from both conservation and control perspectives it is important to know how rabbits are adapting and to work towards understanding the underlying genetic basis of this adaptation. Pathogenicity of a viral disease is not only influenced by the pathogen itself but likely also by the hostâ¿¿s immune gene expression which is poorly understood for wild animals. Here we used cDNA microarrays to obtain a general picture of the genetic pathways expressed in the liver during acute RHD infections in wild rabbits. We found that typical immune response pathways are activated during RHD but also identified differences in our results from those that might have been anticipated from laboratory studies. The down-regulation of cell surface protein genes in wild rabbits that avoided infection also suggests that the lower expression of certain surface proteins could confer protection from RHDV infection. This study expands our understanding of the molecular mechanisms at the host-pathogen interface during RHDV infection and pathogenesis and constitutes a step towards determination of genetic mechanisms that may eventually prove important in host-pathogen co-evolution under natural conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)20-26
    Number of pages7
    JournalThe Open Immunology Journal
    Volume5
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Fingerprint

    Rabbits
    Gene Expression
    Liver
    Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus
    Infection
    Virus Diseases
    Biological Pest Control
    Membrane Proteins
    Wild Animals
    Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
    Ecosystem
    Virulence
    Down-Regulation
    Viruses
    Population
    Genes

    Cite this

    Schwensow, Nina ; Cooke, Brian ; Fickel, Joerns ; Lutz, Walburga ; Sommer, Simone. / Changes in Liver Gene Expression Indicate Genetic Pathways Associated with Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Infection in Wild Rabbits. In: The Open Immunology Journal. 2012 ; Vol. 5, No. 1. pp. 20-26.
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    abstract = "Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is of worldwide significance for both, domestic and wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). While the loss of natural populations of wild rabbits in south-western Europe is of major conservation concern because rabbits are a key-stone species in natural ecosystems, the virus has been successfully used as a biological control of pest rabbits in Australia. However, rabbit numbers in Australia are currently rising again suggesting ongoing host adaptive changes. Accordingly, from both conservation and control perspectives it is important to know how rabbits are adapting and to work towards understanding the underlying genetic basis of this adaptation. Pathogenicity of a viral disease is not only influenced by the pathogen itself but likely also by the host{\^a}¿¿s immune gene expression which is poorly understood for wild animals. Here we used cDNA microarrays to obtain a general picture of the genetic pathways expressed in the liver during acute RHD infections in wild rabbits. We found that typical immune response pathways are activated during RHD but also identified differences in our results from those that might have been anticipated from laboratory studies. The down-regulation of cell surface protein genes in wild rabbits that avoided infection also suggests that the lower expression of certain surface proteins could confer protection from RHDV infection. This study expands our understanding of the molecular mechanisms at the host-pathogen interface during RHDV infection and pathogenesis and constitutes a step towards determination of genetic mechanisms that may eventually prove important in host-pathogen co-evolution under natural conditions.",
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    Changes in Liver Gene Expression Indicate Genetic Pathways Associated with Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Infection in Wild Rabbits. / Schwensow, Nina; Cooke, Brian; Fickel, Joerns; Lutz, Walburga; Sommer, Simone.

    In: The Open Immunology Journal, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2012, p. 20-26.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    T1 - Changes in Liver Gene Expression Indicate Genetic Pathways Associated with Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Infection in Wild Rabbits

    AU - Schwensow, Nina

    AU - Cooke, Brian

    AU - Fickel, Joerns

    AU - Lutz, Walburga

    AU - Sommer, Simone

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    AB - Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is of worldwide significance for both, domestic and wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). While the loss of natural populations of wild rabbits in south-western Europe is of major conservation concern because rabbits are a key-stone species in natural ecosystems, the virus has been successfully used as a biological control of pest rabbits in Australia. However, rabbit numbers in Australia are currently rising again suggesting ongoing host adaptive changes. Accordingly, from both conservation and control perspectives it is important to know how rabbits are adapting and to work towards understanding the underlying genetic basis of this adaptation. Pathogenicity of a viral disease is not only influenced by the pathogen itself but likely also by the hostâ¿¿s immune gene expression which is poorly understood for wild animals. Here we used cDNA microarrays to obtain a general picture of the genetic pathways expressed in the liver during acute RHD infections in wild rabbits. We found that typical immune response pathways are activated during RHD but also identified differences in our results from those that might have been anticipated from laboratory studies. The down-regulation of cell surface protein genes in wild rabbits that avoided infection also suggests that the lower expression of certain surface proteins could confer protection from RHDV infection. This study expands our understanding of the molecular mechanisms at the host-pathogen interface during RHDV infection and pathogenesis and constitutes a step towards determination of genetic mechanisms that may eventually prove important in host-pathogen co-evolution under natural conditions.

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