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Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences

PI: Michael P. Murtaugh

Functional Genomics of Porcine Immunity to Enteric and Respiratory Disease Agents

The Murtaugh laboratory is investigating molecular mechanisms of disease resistance in swine with particular attention to persistent viral infections and enteric immunity. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) causes a prolonged acute, viremic infection of lung macrophages and a persistent infection of macrophages and dendritic cells in lymphoid tissues. Porcine Cirocovirus 2 (PCV2) is the cause of PCV associated disease, a problem of growing pigs. A better understanding of viral structure, viral growth, and the host response to these viruses at different time points during infection will allow identification of genes and proteins involved in the response to virus and help us to identify measures to allow for disease control. These researchers are planning to elucidate viral structure, growth, and the host response using microarrays, whole genome analysis, biochemical and mass spectrometry approaches, etc. Identification of genes altered in expression under conditions of viral infection is expected to reveal mechanisms of cellular immunity, insights into viral evasion of immunity, and establishment of persistent infection. Identification of altered protein profiles in serum of infected animals will further illuminate host responses to infection without a requirement for pre‐existing knowledge. These approaches are valuable for understanding host‐pathogen interactions relevant to agricultural and wildlife species.

The molecular basis of enteric immunity is essentially a black box. Identification of differentially expressed sequences in enteric immune tissues provides a fundamental genomic basis of enteric, mucosal immunity. Further characterization of differentially expressed sequences is expected to reveal biochemical and molecular mechanisms of immune protection to enteric pathogens. Large‐scale expressed sequence library analysis, comparative hybridizations, expression profiling, and similar approaches are proving useful to the identification of novel proteins that may be uniquely involved in mucosal immune responses in the small intestine.

Group Members

Juan Abrahante, Research Associate
Cheryl Dvorak, Research Associate
Josephine Gnanandarajah, Graduate Student
Craig Johnson, Research Associate
Juan Li, Graduate Student
Sumathy Puvanediran, Graduate Student
John Schwartz, Graduate Student
Suzanne Stone, Undergraduate Student
Kyra Wingate, Graduate Student