Immunological Response to Single Pathogen Challenge with Agents of the Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex: An RNA-Sequence Analysis of the Bronchial Lymph Node Transcriptome.
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Susceptibility to bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is multi-factorial and is influenced by stress in conjunction with infection by both bacterial and viral pathogens. While vaccination is broadly used in an effort to prevent BRD, it is far from being fully protective and cases diagnosed from a combination of observed clinical signs without any attempt at identifying the causal pathogens are usually treated with antibiotics. Dairy and beef cattle losses from BRD are profound worldwide and genetic studies have now been initiated to elucidate host loci which underlie susceptibility with the objective of enabling molecular breeding to reduce disease prevalence. In this study, we employed RNA sequencing to examine the bronchial lymph node transcriptomes of controls and beef cattle which had individually been experimentally challenged with bovine respiratory syncytial virus, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, bovine viral diarrhea virus, Pasteurella multocida, Mannheimia haemolytica or Mycoplasma bovis to identify the genes that are involved in the bovine immune response to infection. We found that 142 differentially expressed genes were located in previously described quantitative trait locus regions associated with risk of BRD. Mutations affecting the expression or amino acid composition of these genes may affect disease susceptibility and could be incorporated into molecular breeding programs. Genes involved in innate immunity were generally found to be differentially expressed between the control and pathogen-challenged animals suggesting that variation in these genes may lead to a heritability of susceptibility that is pathogen independent. However, we also found pathogen-specific expression profiles which suggest that host genetic variation for BRD susceptibility is pathogen dependent.