Publications by authors named "Katarzyna B Miska"

25 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The effect of delayed feeding post-hatch on caeca development in broiler chickens.

Br Poult Sci 2021 Apr 9. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Broiler chicks are frequently deprived of food up to 72 h due to uneven hatching rates, management procedures and transportation to farms. Little is known about the effect of delayed feeding due to extended hatching times on the early neonatal development of the caeca. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the developmental changes and effects of a 48-h delay in feed access immediately post-hatch (PH) on the caeca.After hatch, birds (Ross 708) were randomly divided into two treatment groups (n=6 battery pen/treatment). One group (early fed; EF) received feed and water immediately after hatch, while the second group (late fed; LF) had access to water but had delayed access to feed for 48 h. Contents averaging across all regions of the caeca were collected for mRNA expression as well as for histological analysis at -48, 0, 4 h PH and then at 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 days PH.Expression of MCT-1 (a nutrient transporter), Cox7A2 (related to mitochondrial function) IgA, pIgR, and ChIL-8 (immune function) genes was affected by delayed access to feed that was dependent by the time PH. Expression of immune and gut barrier function related genes (LEAP2 and MUC2, respectively) was increased in LF group. There was no effect of feed delay on expression of genes related to mitochondrial functions in the caeca, although developmental changes were observed (ATP5F1B, Cox4|1). Caecal mucus and muscle thickness were affected by delayed access to feed during caeca development.The data suggested a limited effect of delayed feed access PH on the developmental changes in caecal functions. However, the caeca seemed to be relatively resistant to delayed access to feed early PH, with only a few genes affected.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00071668.2021.1912291DOI Listing
April 2021

The effects of tributyrin supplementation on weight gain and intestinal gene expression in broiler chickens during Eimeria maxima-induced coccidiosis.

Poult Sci 2021 Apr 18;100(4):100984. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA. Electronic address:

Butyrate is a feed additive that has been shown to have antibacterial properties and improve gut health in broilers. Here, we examined the performance and gene expression changes in the ileum of tributyrin-supplemented broilers infected with coccidia. Ninety-six, Ross 708 broilers were fed either a control corn-soybean-based diet (-BE) or a diet supplemented with 0.25% (w/w) tributyrin (+BE). Birds were further divided into groups that were inoculated with Eimeria maxima oocysts (EM) or sham-inoculated (C) on day 21 posthatch. At 7 d postinfection (7 d PI), the peak of pathology in E. maxima infection, tributyrin-supplemented birds had significantly improved feed conversion ratios (FCR, P < 0.05) and body weight gain (BWG, P < 0.05) compared with -BE-infected birds, despite both groups having similar feed intake (FI, P > 0.05). However, at 10 d post-infection (10 d PI) no significant effects of feed type or infection were observed. Gene expression in the ileum was examined for insights into possible effects of infection and tributyrin supplementation on genes encoding proteins related to immunity, digestion, and gut barrier integrity. Among immune-related genes examined, IL-1B and LEAP2 were only significantly affected at 7 d PI. Transcription of genes related to digestion (APN, MCT1, FABP2, and MUC2) were primarily influenced by infection at 7 d PI and tributyrin supplementation (FABP2 and MUC2) at 10 d PI. With exception of ZO1, tight junction genes were affected by either infection or feed type at 7 d PI. At 10 d PI, only CLDN1 was not affected by either infection or feed type. Overall tributyrin shows promise as a supplement to improve performance during coccidiosis in broiler chickens; however, its effect on gene expression and mode of action requires further research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psj.2021.01.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7921011PMC
April 2021

Research Note: Effect of butyric acid glycerol esters on ileal and cecal mucosal and luminal microbiota in chickens challenged with Eimeria maxima.

Poult Sci 2020 Oct 3;99(10):5143-5148. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, U.S.A.

Coccidiosis is one of the most prevalent diseases seen in the poultry industry leading to excessive economic losses. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of butyric acid glycerol esters (BE) on the ileal and cecal microbiota in birds challenged with Eimeria maxima (EM). Ross 708 male broilers were fed a diet supplemented with 0 (control) or 0.25% BE from day 1. On day 21, half of the birds were infected with 10 EM oocysts. For determing microbiota, ileal and cecal contents and epithelial scrapings were collected at 7 and 10 D postinfection (PI). Alpha diversity of bacterial communities was mostly affected (P < 0.05) by time PI and EM infection. The richness of luminal bacterial populations in the ileum and ceca was affected (P < 0.05) by addition of BE and by time PI × EM × BE interaction, respectively. In the ileal and cecal luminal and mucosal bacterial communities, permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA, unweighted UniFrac) showed significant (P < 0.05) differences because of time PI and interaction between time PI, EM, and BE. Significant (P < 0.05) differences in taxonomic composition at the family level were observed in microbiota of luminal and mucosal populations of the ileum and ceca owing to time PI, EM, BE, and their interactions. The bacterial community present in the cecal lumen was characterized by the lowest number of differential bacteria, whereas the cecal mucosal community was characterized by the highest number of differentially abundant bacteria. In conclusion, our results show that EM infection and time PI has the biggest impact on microbial diversity in the chicken gut. The presence of BE in the diet had a limited effect on gut microbiota.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psj.2020.06.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7598111PMC
October 2020

Effect of delayed feeding post-hatch on expression of tight junction- and gut barrier-related genes in the small intestine of broiler chickens during neonatal development.

Poult Sci 2020 Oct 3;99(10):4714-4729. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.

The gut not only plays a key role in digestion and absorption of nutrients but also forms a physical barrier and first line of defense between the host and the luminal environment. A functional gut barrier (mucus and epithelial cells with tight junctions [TJ]) is essential for optimal health and efficient production in poultry. In current broiler system, chicks are deprived of food and water up to 72 h due to uneven hatching, hatchery procedures, and transportation. Post-hatch feed delay results in lower BW, higher FCR and mortality, and delayed post-hatch gut development. Little is known about the effects of early neonatal development and delayed feeding immediately post-hatch on gut barrier function in chickens. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to characterize the expression pattern of gut barrier-related and TJ-related genes in the small intestine of broiler chickens during early development and delay in access to feed. Newly hatched chicks received feed and water immediately after hatch or were subjected to 48 h delayed access to feed to mimic commercial hatchery setting and operations. Birds were sampled (n = 6) at -48, 0, 4, 24, 48, 72, 96, 144, 192, 240, 288, and 336 h post-hatch. Jejunum and ileum were collected, cleaned of digesta, and snap-frozen in liquid nitrogen or fixed in paraformaldehyde. The relative mRNA levels of gut barrier- and TJ-related protein genes were measured by quantitative PCR and analyzed by 2-way ANOVA. In both tissues, changes (P < 0.05) in gene expression pattern of gut barrier-related and TJ-related genes were detected due to delayed access to feed post-hatch and/or development. In general, expression of TJ-related genes was downregulated while mRNA levels of gut barrier-related genes were upregulated during development. Histological differences and changes in mucin staining due to age and treatment were observed. These results suggest that delayed access to feed post-hatch may affect TJ structure and/or function and therefore gut barrier function and overall health of the chicken small intestine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psj.2020.06.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7598124PMC
October 2020

Expression of amino acid and sugar transporters, aminopeptidase, and the di- and tri-peptide transporter PepT1; differences between modern fast growing broilers and broilers not selected for rapid growth.

Poult Sci 2019 May;98(5):2272-2280

Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, 10300 Baltimore Ave, Beltsville MD 20705.

Within the last 60 yr genetics of broilers have changed to produce rapid growing birds that achieve market weight in 6 wk or less. To investigate the differences in factors that play a role in nutrient processing and uptake between modern fast growing (Ross) and slow growing broilers not selected for growth (ACRBC), a study was carried comparing the expression of 13 genes that encode amino acid transporters (ASCT1, ATBo,+, BoAT, bo, +AT, CAT1, CAT2, EAAT3, γ+LAT1, and LAT1) and sugar transporters (GLUT2 and GLUT5), as well as aminopeptidase (APN) and the di- and tri-peptide transporter PepT1. The growth rate of Ross birds was approximately 4 times greater than that of ACRBCs, and the feed conversion ratio (FCR) was greater in ACRBCs at all-time points measured. Gene expression in the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum was measured at 1, 3, 5, 10, and 14 d post hatch (PH). The expression of genes that encode proteins (particularly ASCT1, ATBo, +, and BoAT) located at the brush border of the gut epithelium was generally higher in ACRBCs especially at earlier time points. The expression of genes that encode proteins located at the basolateral surface of the gut epithelium was less affected. The expression of GLUT2 and GLUT5 was significantly decreased in ACRBCs at most time points and gut segments. Based on the present data we conclude that expression of brush border and sugar transporters in the small intestine can be correlated with growth. Presented increases the identification of the factors that influence growth and will assist future studies of the function of these molecules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pey583DOI Listing
May 2019

Effect of early neonatal development and delayed feeding post-hatch on jejunal and ileal calcium and phosphorus transporter genes expression in broiler chickens.

Poult Sci 2019 04;98(4):1861-1871

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.

Calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) are essential minerals involved in many biological processes including bone development and mineralization. Plasma concentration of both minerals is tightly regulated, and Ca and P homeostasis is maintained via intestinal absorption, bone storage and exchange, and renal reabsorption. In the current broiler production systems, chicks are deprived of food and water for up to 72 h due to uneven hatching, hatchery procedures, and transportation time to farms. Post-hatch (PH) feed delay results in lower body and organ weight, higher feed conversion ratio and mortality, and delayed PH growth and GIT development. Little is known about the effects of early neonatal development and delayed or immediate feeding PH on Ca and P transporters. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to characterize expression patterns of Ca and P transporter genes in small intestine during the first 2 wk PH in chickens fed immediately after hatch (FED) or subjected to 48 h delayed feeding (NOTFED). Expression of all Ca and P transporters in jejunum and ileum was significantly (P < 0.05) affected by age. Among Ca transporter genes, only mRNA expression of Calbidin D28k in jejunum and Ca sensing receptor (CaSR) in ileum were significantly (P < 0.05) affected by delay in feed access. For P transporter genes' expression, only P transporter type III (PIT1) mRNA was significantly affected by age, delay in feed access, and their interaction (P < 0.05). In summary, we have shown, for the first time, early developmental changes of Ca and P transporter genes in broiler chickens. Results suggest that an increase in gene expression of some of the transporters corresponds with the switch from yolk to high starch diet. Overall, our results can be helpful in better understanding of Ca and P homeostasis in broilers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pey546DOI Listing
April 2019

The effect of Eimeria maxima infection on the expression of amino acid and sugar transporters aminopeptidase, as well as the di- and tri-peptide transporter PepT1, is not solely due to decreased feed intake.

Poult Sci 2018 May;97(5):1712-1721

Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Coccidiosis caused by Eimeria in poultry is endemic to poultry operations and results in decreased feed intake, diarrhea, and decreased weight gain. The goal was to determine the effect of Eimeria maxima infection on the expression of genes that encode peptide and amino acid transporters (AATs), and also to determine whether decreased feed intake contributes to the change in gene expression by including a pair-fed group of broilers. Three groups of male Ross broilers: 1) not infected, 2) infected, and 3) not infected pair-fed groups were used. Chicks were infected with 1,000 oocysts of E. maxima at 21 d of age. Feed consumption was obtained daily, and at d 0, 3, 5, 7, 10, and 14 post-infection (PI), 6 birds were euthanized, and a portion of the jejunum was removed for qRT-PCR. Infected birds had significantly decreased feed consumption between d 6 to 9 PI. At d 7 PI infected birds had a 45% reduction in weight gain, and pair-fed birds had a 32% reduction in weight gain. The feed conversion ratio at d 7 PI of infected birds was 2.2 while that of pair-fed birds was 1.7, compared to 1.5 in uninfected birds. Growth parameters were more affected in infected birds than in pair-fed birds. By measuring expression levels of nutrient uptake and processing genes via qRT-PCR, it was determined that genes encoding proteins located at the brush border of the gut epithelium were affected by infection as well as change in feed intake. The expression of AATs B°AT, b°,+AT, EAAT3, and PepT1 in infected birds decreased sharply at the height of infection; however, in birds that were pair fed, an increase in expression of b°,+AT, and PepT1 was observed, and little change was seen in expression of B°AT and EAAT3. In summary, the changes in expression of digestive enzymes and nutrient transporters are distinct between coccidia-infected birds compared to healthy pair-fed birds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pey015DOI Listing
May 2018

mRNA expression of amino acid transporters, aminopeptidase, and the di- and tri-peptide transporter PepT1 in the intestine and liver of posthatch broiler chicks.

Poult Sci 2015 Jun 29;94(6):1323-32. Epub 2015 Mar 29.

Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061.

Amino acid (AA) transporter proteins are responsible for the movement of amino acids in and out of cells. Aminopeptidase cleaves AAs from the N-terminus of polypeptides making them available for transport, while PepT1 is a di- and tripeptide transporter. In the intestine, these proteins are present on the brush border and basolateral membranes of enterocytes, and are essential for the uptake of AAs into enterocytes and their release into circulation. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of transcription of these genes after hatch in 3 regions of the small intestine, the ceca, and liver. Heritage broiler chicks (n=5) were sampled at day after hatch and days 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, and 21 posthatch, and mRNA expression level was measured using absolute quantitation. The small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum) expressed the largest quantities of each gene tested. The expression in the ceca and liver was 1 to 3 orders of magnitude less than that of the small intestine. The expression of basolateral transporters in the small intestine was more constant over days posthatch than the expression of brush border transporters. In the ceca the expression of the brush border transporters decreased over the sampling period, while expression of basolateral genes was relatively constant. In the liver the expression of Na+ independent cationic and zwitterionic amino acid transporter (bo,+AT), Na+ independent cationic amino acid transporter 2 (CAT2), excitatory amino acid transporter 3 (EAAT3), and the heavy chain corresponding to the bo,+) system (rBAT) significantly decreased at 12 days posthatch; however, the expression of Na+ independent cationic and Na+ dependent neutral amino acid transporter 1 (y+LAT1), Na+ coupled neutral amino acid transporter 1; (SNAT1), and Na+ coupled neutral amino acid transporter 2 (SNAT2) significantly increased at day 5 posthatch compared to day 1 and these levels remained throughout the rest of the sampling period. The current results suggest that at 1 day posthatch chicks are capable of AA processing and transport in the intestine as well as the liver. Additionally the ability of the ceca in transporting AA from the lumen may decrease with age. The liver should be capable of amino acid transport, but its capabilities may be more specific since the expression of several transporters in this organ is either absent or very low.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pev059DOI Listing
June 2015

Evaluation of an experimental irradiated oocyst vaccine to protect broiler chicks against avian coccidiosis.

Avian Dis 2014 Sep;58(3):391-7

The current study investigates the use of irradiated oocysts to protect broiler chicks, raised on litter, from infection with multiple species of Eimeria. In order to determine the optimum radiation dose for each Eimeria species, 1-day-old chicks were immunized with oocysts of Eimeria maxima, Eimeria acervulina, or Eimeria tenella exposed to gamma radiation ranging from 0-500 Gy. The litter oocyst counts at 7 days postimmunization, and the effect on weight gain following a challenge infection, decreased with an optimum dose between 150-200 Gy. Based on this finding, broiler chicks were immunized with a mixture of E. maxima, E. acervulina, and E tenella that had been exposed to 150 or 200 Gy. This resulted in more than a 100-fold reduction in litter oocyst counts and significant protection from a challenge infection, as measured by improved weight gain and feed conversion ratio (FCR). Immunization of birds with oocysts receiving 200 Gy was less effective in providing protection from a challenge infection. An additional formulation of vaccines containing two different oocyst doses of the three species that had been irradiated with 150 Gy were evaluated in their ability to attenuate oocyst output and convey protection to challenge. Results were similar with both high and low numbers of irradiated oocysts. Immunized chicks shed less oocysts at 7 days postimmunization and were protected from negative effects of challenge infection as measured by FCR, changes in weight gain, lesion scores, and measurement of body composition. However, the level of protection was somewhat less than that achieved by immunization with nonirradiated oocysts. The overall conclusion is that an irradiated oocyst vaccine developed in this study can effectively protect chicks that are raised on litter from challenge infection with multiple species of Eimeria, comparable to vaccines with virulent or precocious strains.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1637/10679-092613-Reg.1DOI Listing
September 2014

Expression of nutrient transporters in duodenum, jejunum, and ileum of Eimeria maxima-infected broiler chickens.

Parasitol Res 2014 Oct 6;113(10):3891-4. Epub 2014 Sep 6.

Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD, 20705, USA,

The uptake of amino acids is mediated by active transporters located on the basolateral and brush border membranes of intestinal epithelial cells. The current study investigated the expression of amino acid transporters (AAT) and other genes in the intestine of chicks infected with Eimeria maxima. At 7-day postinfection (PI), tissue from each intestinal segment (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum) was taken from birds inoculated with 3 × 10(3) oocysts/bird and processed to recover RNA. Analysis of gene expression was performed using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Results were given as relative expression using β₂-microglobulin as an endogenous control. All the genes studied were expressed in three segments of the intestines, and expression of the genes was altered by infection with E. maxima. Even though the jejunum is considered the parasite's primary predilection site, there was no segment-related difference in expression of most of the genes studied. The antimicrobial peptide (LEAP2) was downregulated in all three segments of the intestine. The results also demonstrate that transporters associated with brush border membranes were downregulated while transporters associated with the basolateral membranes were upregulated and that E. maxima alters the expression of AAT and LEAP2 throughout the small intestine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-014-4114-3DOI Listing
October 2014

Both host and parasite MIF molecules bind to chicken macrophages via CD74 surface receptor.

Dev Comp Immunol 2014 Dec 30;47(2):319-26. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Avian Immunobiology Laboratory, Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA. Electronic address:

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is recognized as a soluble protein that inhibits the random migration of macrophages and plays a pivotal immunoregulatory function in innate and adaptive immunity. Our group has identified both chicken and Eimeria MIFs, and characterized their function in enhancing innate immune responses during inflammation. In this study, we report that chicken CD74 (ChCD74), a type II transmembrane protein, functions as a macrophage surface receptor that binds to MIF molecules. First, to examine the binding of MIF to chicken monocytes/macrophages, fresh isolated chicken peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were stimulated with rChIFN-γ and then incubated with recombinant chicken MIF (rChMIF). Immunofluorescence staining with anti-ChMIF followed by flow cytometry revealed the binding of MIF to stimulated PBMCs. To verify that ChCD74 acts as a surface receptor for MIF molecules, full-length ChCD74p41 was cloned, expressed and its recombinant protein (rChCD74p41) transiently over-expressed with green fluorescent protein in chicken fibroblast DF-1 cells. Fluorescence analysis revealed a higher population of cells double positive for CD74p41 and rChMIF, indicating the binding of rChMIF to DF-1 cells via rChCD74p41. Using a similar approach, it was found that Eimeria MIF (EMIF), which is secreted by Eimeria sp. during infection, bound to chicken macrophages via ChCD74p41 as a surface receptor. Together, this study provides conclusive evidence that both host and parasite MIF molecules bind to chicken macrophages via the surface receptor ChCD74.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dci.2014.07.021DOI Listing
December 2014

The mRNA expression of amino acid transporters, aminopeptidase N, and the di- and tri-peptide transporter PepT1 in the embryo of the domesticated chicken (Gallus gallus) shows developmental regulation.

Poult Sci 2014 Sep 18;93(9):2262-70. Epub 2014 Jul 18.

Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg 24061.

The mRNA expression profile for 10 amino acid transporters, the di-and tri- peptide transporter (PepT1), and aminopeptidase N (APN) during chick embryogenesis was determined. Fertilized eggs were sampled at d 9, 11, 15, 17, 19, and 20 of incubation. Three to 4 embryos were sampled at each time period. At d 9 and 11, the entire intestine was collected due to its undifferentiated appearance. The ceca, duodenum, midgut, and liver were sampled at d 15, 17, 19, and 20. Gene expression was measured using absolute quantitation quantitative reverse-transcription PCR. In the liver, all genes except for PepT1 were expressed at most time points. At d 9, only the expression of Na⁺-independent cationic amino acid transporter 1, Na⁺-independent cationic amino acid transporter 2, and excitatory amino acid transporter 3 was detectable in the intestine, but by d 11, all genes associated with transporters of the basolateral surface were expressed, and at higher levels than genes associated with brush border transporters. By d 15, all of the genes tested were expressed in the duodenum, midgut, and ceca at high levels that remained relatively constant until d 20. Statistical analysis shows that at d 15, 17, 19, and 20 there is a significant interaction between the 2 main effects (days of incubation and region of the gut); therefore, it is likely that gene expression in different regions of the gut is dependent on the age of the embryo. At d 9 and 11, the gut may not function in amino acid uptake from the lumen and possibly relies on other structures such as the yolk sac. As the gut matures and protein becomes available in the lumen, amino acid transporters become highly expressed in all parts of the intestine. The data suggest that by d 15 of embryo development the gut may be capable of amino acid absorption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2014-03983DOI Listing
September 2014

The use of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to assess the impact of Eimeria infections in broiler chicks.

Avian Dis 2013 Jun;57(2):199-204

A number of parameters have been used to assess the impact ofcoccidiosis on chickens in clinical settings as well as in experimental studies. However, a rapid way to determine body composition would be useful to evaluate or compare responses to coccidia and could give further insight into the metabolic impact of infection. The current study evaluates the use of dual X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) to determine the impact of coccidiosis on body composition in chicks receiving inoculations with single or mixed species of Eimeria. Chicks infected with Eimeria maxima, Eimeria acervulina, or Eimeria tenella had altered parameters of body composition as measured by DEXA at 6 days postinfection (PI). The greatest effects were noted in birds infected with E. acervulina or E. maxima, where lean mass and fat were reduced from control values about 75% and 85%, respectively. In chicks infected with E. tenella, tissue and fat were reduced about 10%. Bone mineral content (BMC) was about 75% of control values in birds infected with E. acervulina or E. maxima, but only E. acervulina altered bone mineral density (BMD). The decreases in BMC and BMD are likely due to malabsorption. In chicks receiving a mixed coccidian infection, all DEXA parameters were significantly decreased at 8 days PI compared with age-matched controls. As with single infections, BMD and BMC were significantly depressed (P < 0.05). Values of all DEXA parameters were near 92% of control values by day 16 PI. Analysis of all birds in the current study indicates DEXA tissue weight slightly underestimated the gravimetrically measured weight by about 3%. The current results demonstrate that DEXA is a potentially important tool for the rapid evaluation of the effect of coccidiosis on broiler chicks and suggest it can be useful for evaluation of vaccines and other disease controls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1637/10392-092812-Reg.1DOI Listing
June 2013

Characterization and localization of an Eimeria-specific protein in Eimeria maxima.

Parasitol Res 2013 Oct 3;112(10):3401-8. Epub 2013 Jul 3.

Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, USDA/ARS, Beltsville, MD, 20705, USA,

A recently completed analysis of Eimeria maxima transcriptome identified a gene with homology to sequences expressed by E. tenella and E. acervulina but lacking homology with other organisms including other apicomplexans. This gene, designated Eimeria-specific protein (ESP), codes for a protein with a predicted molecular weight of 19 kDa. The ESP gene was cloned and the recombinant protein expressed in bacteria and purified for preparation of specific antisera. Quantitative RT-PCR showed transcription of ESP was low in unsporulated oocysts and after 24 h of sporulation. However, transcription nearly doubled after 48 h of sporulation and reached its highest levels in sporozoites (SZ) and merozoites (MZ). The protein was detectable by Western blot in both sporulated oocysts and in SZ and MZ. Immuno-localization by light microscopy identified ESP in paired structures in the anterior of SZ and MZ. Immuno-localization by electron microscopy identified ESP in MZ rhoptries but no specific staining of any SZ structures was detected. In addition, localization studies on intestinal sections recovered from birds 120-h post-infection indicates that oocysts do not stain with anti-ESP but staining of microgametocytes and developing oocysts was observed. The results indicate that ESP is associated with the rhoptry of E. maxima and that the protein may have functions in other developmental stages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-013-3518-9DOI Listing
October 2013

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) of the protozoan parasite Eimeria influences the components of the immune system of its host, the chicken.

Parasitol Res 2013 May 23;112(5):1935-44. Epub 2013 Feb 23.

Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, USDA/ARS, 10300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a soluble factor produced by sensitized T lymphocytes that inhibits the random migration of macrophages. Homologues of MIF from invertebrates have been identified, making it an interesting molecule from a functional perspective. In the present study, the localization of a parasite MIF protein as well as its effect on the host was characterized. Western blot analysis shows that Eimeria MIF (EMIF) is found during all parasite developmental stages tested. Transmission electron microscopy shows that MIF is distributed throughout cytosol and nucleus of Eimeria acervulina merozoites. Immunohistochemical analysis suggests that EMIF may be released into the surrounding tissues as early as 24 h after infection, while later during oocyst formation, MIF expression is localized to areas immediately surrounding the oocysts, as well as in wall-forming bodies. The chemotaxis assay revealed an inhibitory function of EMIF on chicken monocyte migration. Quantitative real-time PCR was performed to examine the effect of EMIF on host immune system by measuring the transcripts of inflammatory mediators. An ex vivo stimulation study showed that E. acervulina MIF (EaMIF) enhanced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in the presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Furthermore, sequential treatment of adherent peripheral blood mononuclear cells with EaMIF, chicken MIF, and LPS in 2-h intervals led to the highest levels of interleukin (IL)-1B, chemokine CCLi3, IL-18, and interferon-gamma mRNA expression. This study shows that parasite MIF is widely expressed and may have potential effects on the immune system of the host.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-013-3345-zDOI Listing
May 2013

β-1,3-glucan, which can be targeted by drugs, forms a trabecular scaffold in the oocyst walls of Toxoplasma and Eimeria.

mBio 2012 25;3(5). Epub 2012 Sep 25.

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Unlabelled: The walls of infectious pathogens, which are essential for transmission, pathogenesis, and diagnosis, contain sugar polymers that are defining structural features, e.g., β-1,3-glucan and chitin in fungi, chitin in Entamoeba cysts, β-1,3-GalNAc in Giardia cysts, and peptidoglycans in bacteria. The goal here was to determine in which of three walled forms of Toxoplasma gondii (oocyst, sporocyst, or tissue cyst) is β-1,3-glucan, the product of glucan synthases and glucan hydrolases predicted by whole-genome sequences of the parasite. The three most important discoveries were as follows. (i) β-1,3-glucan is present in oocyst walls of Toxoplasma and Eimeria (a chicken parasite that is a model for intestinal stages of Toxoplasma) but is absent from sporocyst and tissue cyst walls. (ii) Fibrils of β-1,3-glucan are part of a trabecular scaffold in the inner layer of the oocyst wall, which also includes a glucan hydrolase that has a novel glucan-binding domain. (iii) Echinocandins, which target the glucan synthase and kill fungi, arrest development of the Eimeria oocyst wall and prevent release of the parasites into the intestinal lumen. In summary, β-1,3-glucan, which can be targeted by drugs, is an important component of oocyst walls of Toxoplasma but is not a component of sporocyst and tissue cyst walls.

Importance: We show here that walls of Toxoplasma oocysts, the infectious stage shed by cats, contain β-1,3-glucan, a sugar polymer that is a major component of fungal walls. In contrast to fungi, β-1,3-glucan is part of a trabecular scaffold in the inner layer of the oocyst wall that is independent of the permeability barrier formed by the outer layer of the wall. While glucan synthase inhibitors kill fungi, these inhibitors arrest the development of the oocyst walls of Eimeria (an important chicken pathogen that is a surrogate for Toxoplasma) and block release of oocysts into the intestinal lumen. The absence of β-1,3-glucan in tissue cysts of Toxoplasma suggests that drugs targeted at the glucan synthase might be used to treat Eimeria in chickens but not to treat Toxoplasma in people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00258-12DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518913PMC
January 2013

Genomic analysis of Eimeria spp. populations in relation to performance levels of broiler chicken farms in Arkansas and North Carolina.

J Parasitol 2009 Aug;95(4):871-80

Animal Parasitic Diseases Lab, United States Department of Agriculture, 10300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA.

The impact of coccidiosis outbreaks on the productivity of broiler chicken farms can be substantial, depending on the severity of disease caused by particular species and strains of Eimeria. We examined the genetic diversity of Eimeria species present in commercial broiler farms in relation to their performance level. Four groups of broiler chicken farms in Arkansas (AR) and North Carolina (NC), having either high or low performance levels, were sampled for Eimeria spp. oocysts. We amplified gDNA from oocysts by using genus-specific primers targeting 18S ribosomal RNA, the first and second internal transcribed spacer regions, and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I as the established species-specific primers. Eimeria spp. diversity was not homogenous among the 4 farm groups, with less-pathogenic species (E. mitis and E. mivati-like) associated with AR and NC high-performance farms, respectively, and a pathogenic species (E. brunetti) associated with AR low-performance farms. Sequence analyses identified multiple E. maxima and E. mitis genetic variants, from which 2 E. maxima variants were unique to low-performance farms. Distinct populations of sequences at the NC high-performance farms were identified as E. mivati-like, based on homology searches. Our study demonstrated the utility of analyzing multiple genomic loci to assess composition and polymorphisms of Eimeria spp. populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1645/GE-1898.1DOI Listing
August 2009

Coccidian merozoite transcriptome analysis from Eimeria maxima in comparison to Eimeria tenella and Eimeria acervulina.

J Parasitol 2010 Feb;96(1):49-57

Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA.

With the Eimeria spp. populations that infect chickens used as a model for coccidian biology, we aimed to survey the transcriptome of Eimeria maxima and contrast it to the 2 other Eimeria spp. for which transcriptome data are available, i.e., Eimeria tenella and Eimeria acervulina . The asexual intracellular development stage, the merozoite, was specifically examined, and we used expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis to provide experimental evidence of transcription and a framework for understanding the merozoite stage of E. maxima . Of 2,680 individual ESTs obtained, 48.2% shared most significant (E < 10(-5)) homology to sequences from other apicomplexan species, primarily other Eimeria spp. and Toxoplasma gondii , and 47.5% were unique. Annotation of these ESTs enabled categorization to putative biological function and revealed an emphasis on translation, cytoskeleton, metabolism, signaling, transport, and protein folding, as well as the apicomplexan specific surface antigens and micronemes. Comparative analysis of abundantly expressed transcripts from merozoites of the 3 Eimeria spp. revealed a novel transcript common to all 3. Sharing no significant homology to any other sequence in public databases, this transcript was predicted to encode an Eimeria -specific protein (ESP) with 166-178 amino acids and 58.9-65.1% interspecific identity. A predicted signal peptide was identified, consistent with the assumption that ESP is a secreted protein. These annotated ESTs from E. maxima merozoites provide a resource for intra- and interspecific comparative analyses that will be useful in distinguishing the unique biology of coccidian parasites in relation to the diverse phylum of Apicomplexa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1645/GE-2253.1DOI Listing
February 2010

Characterisation of macrophage migration inhibitory factor from Eimeria species infectious to chickens.

Mol Biochem Parasitol 2007 Feb 27;151(2):173-83. Epub 2006 Nov 27.

USDA/ARS, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, 10300 Baltimore Ave. BARC-East, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) was the first cytokine to be identified almost 40 years ago. Homologues of MIF have been isolated recently from invertebrates, making it an interesting molecule from an evolutionary as well as functional perspective. The present study represents the first report of MIF homologues in apicomplexan parasites, belonging to the genus Eimeria. A single full-length clone was isolated from Eimeria acervulina that shared between 35 and 38% amino acid identity with MIFs of vertebrates. A MIF cDNA from Eimeria tenella shared 64% amino acid identity with E. acervulina MIF. The mRNA expression was highest in merozoites, whereas developing oocysts and sporozoites expressed low to undetectable levels. Protein expression patterns were nearly identical to that observed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), suggesting strong developmental regulation. Immunofluorescence staining and co-localisation studies of E. acervulina merozoites indicated that MIF is distributed throughout the cytosol, and appears to be concentrated in the apical end of the parasite. The presence of MIF was detected in excretory/secretory (ES) products collected from E. acervulina merozoites, and isoelectric focusing indicated that three MIF isoforms are present in this stage. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that apicomplexan MIF sequences form a sister relationship to MIF-like molecules from Arabidopsis thaliana.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2006.10.020DOI Listing
February 2007

Modo-UG, a marsupial nonclassical MHC class I locus.

Immunogenetics 2006 Jun 26;58(5-6):396-406. Epub 2006 Apr 26.

Department of Genetics, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, TX, 78245, USA.

Modo-UG is a class I gene located in the MHC of the marsupial Monodelphis domestica, the gray, short-tailed opossum. Modo-UG is expressed as three alternatively spliced mRNA forms, all of which encode a transmembrane form with a short cytoplasmic tail that lacks phosphorylation sites typically found in classical class I molecules. The three alternative mRNAs would encode a full-length form, an isoform lacking the alpha2 domain, and one lacking both alpha2 and alpha3 domains. Genotyping both captive-bred and wild M. domestica from different geographic regions revealed no variation in the residues that make up Modo-UG's peptide-binding groove. Modo-UG's low polymorphism is contrasting to that of a nearby class I locus, Modo-UA1, which has a highly polymorphic peptide-binding region. Absence of functional polymorphism in Modo-UG is therefore not a general feature of opossum class I genes but the result of negative selection. Modo-UG is the first MHC linked marsupial class I to be described that appears to clearly have nonclassical features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00251-006-0115-4DOI Listing
June 2006

Cross protection studies with Eimeria maxima strains.

Parasitol Res 2005 Oct 1;97(3):179-85. Epub 2005 Jul 1.

USDA/ARS, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Bldg. 1040, Rm 103, BARC-East, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether differences in fecundity of Eimeria maxima isolates were related to their abilities to elicit cross-protective immunity. Immunizations were initiated by low-dose gavages of sporulated oocysts to day-old broiler chicks under conditions that allowed parasite recycling, and chickens were challenged with homologous and heterologous strains. Immunization efficacies were measured using a protective index calculated from weight gain, gross lesion score, plasma carotenoid, and NO2- + NO3- data. A 4x4 cross- immunization study of four E. maxima strains (designated A-D) showed that strain A, which displayed the lower fecundity, provided no cross-protection against the other three strains. Following several maintenance passages, the fecundity of strain A was increased to that of strain C, and infection with strain A oocysts was able to provide cross-immune protection against challenge with strain C. This study indicates that parasite fecundity is important in providing good immune stimulation, and should be carefully monitored when characterization of the unique immune potentials of Eimeria strains is undertaken.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-005-1423-6DOI Listing
October 2005

Analysis of a marsupial MHC region containing two recently duplicated class I loci.

Mamm Genome 2004 Oct;15(10):851-64

Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.

A 37-kb cosmid containing two complete major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I alpha chain loci from the opossum Monodelphis domestica was isolated, fully sequenced, and characterized. This sequence represents the largest contiguous genomic sequence reported for the MHC region of a nonplacental mammal. Based on particular conserved amino acid residues, and limited expression analyses, the two MHC-I loci, designated ModoUB and ModoUC, appear to encode functional MHC-I molecules. The two coding regions are 98% identical at the nucleotide level; however, their promoter regions differ significantly. Two CpG islands present in the cosmid sequence correspond to the two coding regions. Twelve microsatellites and six retroelements were also present in the cosmid. The retroelements share highest sequence homology to the CORE-SINE family of retroelements. Due to high sequence identity, it is very likely that ModoUB and ModoUC loci are products of recent gene duplication that occurred less than 4 million years ago.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00335-004-2224-4DOI Listing
October 2004

A survey of type I interferons from a marsupial and monotreme: implications for the evolution of the type I interferon gene family in mammals.

Cytokine 2003 Feb;21(3):105-19

School of Science, Food and Horticulture, BCRI Building, University of Western Sydney, Locked bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia.

Sequence data for type I interferons (IFNs) have previously only been available for birds and eutherian ('placental') mammals, but not for the other two groups of extant mammals, the marsupials and monotremes. This has left a large gap in our knowledge of the evolutionary and functional relationships of what is a complex gene family in eutherians. In this study, a PCR-based survey of type I IFN genes from a marsupial, the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), and a monotreme, the short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), was conducted. Along with Southern blot and phylogenetic analysis, this revealed a large number of type I IFN genes for the wallaby, rivalling that of eutherians, but relatively few type I IFN genes in the echidna. The wallaby genes include both IFNA and IFNB orthologues, indicating that the gene duplication leading to these subtypes occurred prior to the divergence of marsupials and eutherians some 130 million years ago. Results from this study support the idea that the expansion of type I IFN gene complexity in mammals coincides with a concomitant expansion in the functionality of these molecules. For example, this expansion in complexity may have, at least partially, facilitated the evolution of viviparity in marsupials and eutherians. Other evolutionary aspects of these sequences are also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1043-4666(03)00029-2DOI Listing
February 2003

Characterization of beta(2)-microglobulin coding sequence from three non-placental mammals: the duckbill platypus, the short-beaked echidna, and the grey short-tailed opossum.

Dev Comp Immunol 2003 Mar;27(3):247-56

Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.

To further characterize genes of immunological importance from non-placental mammals, cDNAs encoding beta(2)-microglobulin (beta(2)m) were isolated from two prototherians, the platypus and an echidna, and one metatherian, a grey short-tailed opossum. In addition, a second allele of beta(2)m was identified in another metatherian species, the brushtail possum. Analysis of the deduced translations revealed conservation of key residues in these molecules over a long evolutionary history. The types of nucleotide substitutions present among the various taxa are also consistent with purifying selection at this conserved locus. An evolutionary tree of beta(2)m was constructed that supports the classic view of evolution with prototherians as the basal mammalian group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0145-305x(02)00095-2DOI Listing
March 2003

The major histocompatibility complex in monotremes: an analysis of the evolution of Mhc class I genes across all three mammalian subclasses.

Immunogenetics 2002 Sep 16;54(6):381-93. Epub 2002 Jul 16.

Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131, USA.

We report the isolation and characterization of cDNA clones of expressed, functional major histocompatibility complex class-I ( Mhc-I) genes from two species of monotremes: the duck-billed platypus and the short-beaked echidna. The cDNA clones were isolated from libraries constructed from spleen RNA, clearly establishing their expression in at least this one peripheral lymphoid organ. From the presence of conserved amino acid residues, it appears the expressed sequences encode molecules that likely function as classical Mhc-I. These clones were isolated using monotreme Mhc-I processed pseudogenes as probes. These processed pseudogenes were isolated from genomic DNA and, based on their structure, are likely independently derived in the platypus and echidna. When all the monotreme sequences were included in phylogenetic analyses, we found no apparent orthologous relationships between the platypus and echidna Mhc-I. Analyses that included a large number of Mhc-I sequences from other taxa support a separate monotreme Mhc-I clade, basal to a therian Mhc-I clade that is comprised of sequences from marsupial and placental mammals. The phylogenies also support the hypothesis that Mhc-I genes of placental mammals, marsupials, and monotremes are derived from three separate lineages of Mhc-I genes, best explained by two rounds of duplications and deletions. The first round would have occurred prior to the divergence of monotremes and therians, and the second prior to the divergence of marsupials and placental mammals. The sequences described here represent the first reported functional monotreme Mhc-I, as well as the first processed pseudogenes of any type from monotremes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00251-002-0484-2DOI Listing
September 2002