Poster Presentation Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference 2016

Host response to highly pathogenic avian influenza infection in quails (#581)

Katrina Morris 1 , Jacqueline Smith 1 , Ian R Paton 1 , Angela F Denner 2 , Robert G Webster 2 , David W Burt 1
  1. Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, MIDLOTHIAN, United Kingdom
  2. Virology Division, Department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, USA

Highly pathogenic influenza A viruses (HPAI), such as H5N1, are responsible for enormous economic losses in the poultry industry and pose serious threat to public health. Quail is a popular domestic poultry species raised for meat and eggs in Asia and Europe. While quails can survive infection with Low Pathogenic influenza viruses (LPAI), they experience high mortality when infected with strains of HPAI. Previous research has shown that quail may play a key role as an intermediate host in evolution of avian influenza, allowing viral strains to spread from wild birds to chickens and mammals. While aquatic reservoir species such as duck are resistant to most HPAI strains and act as natural reservoirs, Galliformes, including quails and chickens, are highly susceptible. To better understand the effect this disease has on quails we performed differential analysis of gene expression in quails infected with low and high pathogenic strains of Influenza A. We compare this to previous findings in ducks and chickens. As in chickens, quails lack a key intracellular receptor for viral single stranded RNA, RIG-I. In addition they do not show strong upregulation of IFITM proteins, which are thought to be key to HPAI tolerance in ducks. In comparison to chickens, quails had a sustained response to HPAI infection, however this did not translate into a longer survival time. This data will be important for management of HPAI in quails and other bird species.