Major histocompatibility complex genes exhibit a potential immunological role in mixed Eimeria-infected broiler cecum analyzed using RNA sequencing

  • Minjun Kim (Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Thisarani Kalhari Ediriweera (Department of Bio-AI Convergence, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Eunjin Cho (Department of Bio-AI Convergence, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Yoonji Chung (Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Prabuddha Manjula (Department of Animal Science, Uva Wellassa University) ;
  • Myunghwan Yu (Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University) ;
  • John Kariuki Macharia (Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Seonju Nam (Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Jun Heon Lee (Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University)
  • Received : 2023.10.11
  • Accepted : 2023.11.28
  • Published : 2024.06.01


Objective: This study was conducted to investigate the differential expression of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene region in Eimeria-infected broiler. Methods: We profiled gene expression of Eimeria-infected and uninfected ceca of broilers sampled at 4, 7, and 21 days post-infection (dpi) using RNA sequencing. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between two sample groups were identified at each time point. DEGs located on chicken chromosome 16 were used for further analysis. Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis was conducted for the functional annotation of DEGs. Results: Fourteen significant (false discovery rate <0.1) DEGs were identified at 4 and 7 dpi and categorized into three groups: MHC-Y class I genes, MHC-B region genes, and non-MHC genes. In Eimeria-infected broilers, MHC-Y class I genes were upregulated at 4 dpi but downregulated at 7 dpi. This result implies that MHC-Y class I genes initially activated an immune response, which was then suppressed by Eimeria. Of the MHC-B region genes, the DMB1 gene was upregulated, and TAP-related genes significantly implemented antigen processing for MHC class I at 4 dpi, which was supported by KEGG pathway analysis. Conclusion: This study is the first to investigate MHC gene responses to coccidia infection in chickens using RNA sequencing. MHC-B and MHC-Y genes showed their immune responses in reaction to Eimeria infection. These findings are valuable for understanding chicken MHC gene function.



This research was funded by a grant from the National Research Foundation, Republic of Korea (grant number 2022R1F1A1064025).


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