Resilience to bovine TB traced to key genes

Researchers have mapped active and inactive genes in bovine alveolar macrophages (bAM), which play a key role in countering bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infections. The findings of the study, led by scientists at University College Dublin (UCD) in collaboration with The Roslin Institute, are published in Frontiers in Genetics.

In order to map which genes in bAM are active or altered during infection with Mycobacterium bovis, the team investigated all the chemical changes in the chromosomes of infected macrophages. During infection, M. bovis modifies gene activity in macrophages to facilitate survival inside these cells.

“Our study will help to significantly narrow down the genomic regions of interest for breeding programmes to enhance the resilience of cattle to this important disease,” said Professor David MacHugh, UCD.

The research work was funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and by the European Union through the international Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FAANG) Initiative.

Article: Hall, T.J., Vernimmen, D., Browne, J.A., Mullen, M.P., Gordon, S.V., MacHugh, D.E., O’Doherty, A.M. (2020). Alveolar Macrophage Chromatin Is Modified to Orchestrate Host Response to Mycobacterium bovis Infection. Frontiers in Genetics, 10:1386. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.01386

[SOURCE: University College Dublin]

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