Gene expression profiling and putative biomarkers of calves 3 months after infection with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis

Joel David, Herman W Barkema, Rienske Mortier, Subrata Ghosh, Le Luo Guan, Jeroen De Buck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) causes Johne's disease (JD), a chronic granulomatous intestinal inflammation of ruminants. Current diagnostic tools lack sensitivity to detect JD early in infection; therefore, alternatives are desired. The objective was to identify potential biomarkers in whole blood of high- and low-dose (LD) MAP-challenged Holstein-Friesian calves 3 months after inoculation. Infected calves were designated MAP-positive using the IFN-γ release assay. Differential expression of transcripts in whole blood was compared between non-infected controls and HD, as well as LD calves, using the Affymetrix(®) GeneChip(®) Bovine Genome Array. Microarray data were analyzed using RMA and PLIER algorithms; 296 transcripts were differentially expressed (17 had ≥ 1.5 fold change). The HD and LD calves had differential gene expression profiles for up to 80% of differentially expressed genes. Pathway analyses using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA(®)) indicated inhibition of several defence mechanisms, including apoptosis, leukocyte and lymphocyte trafficking, overall repression of gene expression and potentially hydrogen peroxide production in macrophages. Further validation using qPCR verified increased expression of CD46, ICOS, and CEP350, but decreased expression of CTLA4, YARS, and PARVB in infected calves. Additionally, a comparison of seropositive and seronegative infected calves identified transcripts predictive of seroconversion. We concluded that IL6ST/gp130 and CD22 may have important roles in the induction of antibodies against MAP. Putative biomarkers of early MAP infection with roles in immune responses were identified; in addition, the importance of infective dose on biomarkers was determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-117
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1-2
Early online date29 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014


  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis
  • Paratuberculosis
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Transcriptome
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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