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Digital gene expression analysis of gastrointestinal helminth resistance in Scottish blackface lambs

Authors

  • J. M. PEMBERTON,

    1. Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK
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  • D. BERALDI,

    1. Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK
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    • Present address: The Roslin Institute, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Roslin EH25 9PS, UK.

  • B. H. CRAIG,

    1. Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK
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    • Present address: Wildlife and Emerging Diseases Programme, The Food and Environment Research Agency, York YO41 1LZ, UK.

  • J. HOPKINS

    1. The Roslin Institute, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1QH, UK
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Josephine M. Pemberton, Fax: 0131 650 6564; E-mail: j.pemberton@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Digital gene expression (DGE) analysis offers a route to gene discovery which by-passes the need to develop bespoke arrays for nonmodel species, and is therefore a potentially valuable tool for molecular ecologists. Scottish blackface sheep, which vary in resistance to the common abomasal parasitic nematode Teladorsagia circumcincta, were trickle-infected with L3 larvae over 3 months to mimic the natural progression of infection. DGE was performed on abomasal lymph node tissue after the resolution of infection in resistant animals. Susceptible (low resistance) animals showed a large number of differentially expressed genes associated with inflammation and cell activation, but generally few differentially regulated genes in either the susceptible or the resistant group were directly involved in the adaptive immune function. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that both resistance and susceptibility are active responses to infection and that susceptibility is associated with dysfunction in T cell differentiation and regulation.

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