RNA-Seq-Based Gene Expression Pattern and Morphological Alterations in Chick Thymus during Postnatal Development.
ABSTRACT: The thymus is a lobulated unique lymphoid immune organ that plays a critical role in the selection, development, proliferation, and differentiation of T cells. The thymus of developing chickens undergoes continued morphological alterations; however, the biomolecular and transcriptional dynamics of the postnatal thymus in avian species is not clear yet. Therefore, the thymuses from chickens at different stages of development (at weeks 0, 1, 5, 9, 18, and 27) were used in the present study. The RNA-seq method was used to study the gene expression patterns. On average, 24120819 clean reads were mapped, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified on the basis of log values (fold change), including 744 upregulated and 425 downregulated genes. The expression pattern revealed by RNA-seq was validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) analysis of four important genes, which are PCNA, CCNA2, CCNB2, and CDK1. Thus, the current study revealed that during postnatal development, the thymus undergoes severe atrophy. Thymus structure was damaged and gene expression changed dramatically, especially at the 27th week of age. Moreover, we found significant changes of several signaling pathways such as the cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction and cell cycle signaling pathways. Hence, it may be inferred that those signaling pathways might be closely related to the postnatal chicken thymus development.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The thymus plays a critical role in the development and maturation of T-cells. Humans have a single thoracic thymus and presence of a second thymus is considered an anomaly. However, many vertebrates have multiple thymuses. The tammar wallaby has two thymuses: a thoracic thymus (typically found in all mammals) and a dominant cervical thymus. Researchers have known about the presence of the two wallaby thymuses since the 1800s, but no genome-wide research has been carried out into possible functional differences between the two thymic tissues. Here, we used pyrosequencing to compare the transcriptomes of a cervical and thoracic thymus from a single 178 day old tammar wallaby. RESULTS:We show that both the tammar thoracic and the cervical thymuses displayed gene expression profiles consistent with roles in T-cell development. Both thymuses expressed genes that mediate distinct phases of T-cells differentiation, including the initial commitment of blood stem cells to the T-lineage, the generation of T-cell receptor diversity and development of thymic epithelial cells. Crucial immune genes, such as chemokines were also present. Comparable patterns of expression of non-coding RNAs were seen. 67 genes differentially expressed between the two thymuses were detected, and the possible significance of these results are discussed. CONCLUSION:This is the first study comparing the transcriptomes of two thymuses from a single individual. Our finding supports that both thymuses are functionally equivalent and drive T-cell development. These results are an important first step in the understanding of the genetic processes that govern marsupial immunity, and also allow us to begin to trace the evolution of the mammalian immune system.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Marek's disease virus (MDV) is a highly cell-associated oncogenic ?-herpesvirus that causes a disease characterised by T-cell lymphomas. The pathogenesis, or the nature of the interaction of the virus and the host, in the thymus are still unclear. RESULTS: In this study, we identified 119 differentially expressed proteins using two-dimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry from the thymuses of chickens infected with the RB1B strain of MDV. These differentially expressed proteins were found mainly at 21, 28 and 35 days post-infection. More than 20 of the differentially expressed proteins were directly associated with immunity, apoptosis, tumour development and viral infection and replication. Five of these proteins, ANXA1, MIF, NPM1, OP18 and VIM, were further confirmed using real-time PCR. The functional associations and roles in oncogenesis of these proteins are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: This work provides a proteomic profiling of host responses to MDV in the thymus of chickens and further characterises proteins related to the mechanisms of MDV oncogenesis and pathogenesis.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To obtain greater knowledge of the extra-pineal sources of melatonin during development, the amount of indolamine and the expression levels of the last two enzymes involved in its biosynthesis, Arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) and acetylserotonin O-methyltransferase (ASMT), were analyzed in the human thymus from children from three different age groups (from days to years). The melatonin membrane and nuclear receptor expression levels also were studied. METHODS:Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR and western blot were performed to investigate the receptor and enzyme expression levels. The results were examined and correlated with the ages of the thymuses. RESULTS:We found high levels of indolamine in the thymuses of newborns (younger than 1 month), which decreased during development; thymuses from the months (from 2 to 11 months) and years (from 1 to 12 years) groups showed lower levels. A similar decline was also observed in the mRNA of the AANAT enzyme and the expression levels of melatonin receptors. However, ASMT expression was exactly the opposite, with low levels in the newborn group and higher levels in the years group. Our results show that the thymic synthesis of melatonin occurs very early in childhood. Additionally, this is the first report that is focused on melatonin receptors expression in the human thymus. CONCLUSION:Considering the limited melatonin synthesis performed by the newborn pineal gland, we suggest that the high levels of melatonin found in human thymus in this experimental group arise from synthesis in the tissue itself, which could be contributing to the immune efficiency at the thymic level.
Project description:Thymus transplantation, in conjunction with bone marrow transplantation (BMT), has been attracting attention for the treatment of various diseases. Recently, donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) has been used as a helpful tool for establishing donor chimerism and preventing a relapse of leukemia/lymphoma. However, the effects of DLI on transplanted and recipient thymuses have not been explored. We therefore performed DLI in the intrabone marrow-BMT + thymus transplantation setting. We have found that DLI leads to derangements in both recipient thymuses and transplanted thymuses; by 2 wk after BMT, we saw a decrease in total cell number, a lower percentage of CD4(+)CD8(+) cells, and the obliteration of the thymic corticomedullary junction. Four weeks later, the thymic impairment became more serious. However, when we depleted the CD4(+) T cells (CD4(-)-DLI), the recipient thymic recovery and transplanted thymic development were significantly restored by the treatment. In addition, there were much greater levels of TNF-? and Fas ligand, and a lower percentage of regulatory T cells in the DLI group than in the CD4(-)-DLI group. These findings indicate that inflammation induced by DLI, especially by CD4(+) T cells, plays a crucial role in the thymic impairment.
Project description:During acute infection with Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas' disease, the thymus undergoes intense atrophy followed by a premature escape of CD4+CD8+ immature cortical thymocytes. Here we report a pivotal role for the endogenous lectin galectin-3 in accelerating death of thymocytes and migration of these cells away from the thymus after T. cruzi infection. We observed a pronounced increase in galectin-3 expression that paralleled the extensive depletion of CD4+CD8+ immature thymocytes after infection. In vitro, recombinant galectin-3 induced increased levels of death in cortical immature thymocytes. Consistent with the role of galectin-3 in promoting cell death, thymuses from gal-3-/- mice did not show cortical thymocyte depletion after parasite infection in vivo. In addition, galectin-3 accelerated laminin-driven CD4+CD8+ thymocyte migration in vitro and in vivo induced exportation of CD4+CD8+ cells from the thymus to the peripheral compartment. Our findings provide evidence of a novel role for galectin-3 in the regulation of thymus physiology and identify a potential mechanism based on protein-glycan interactions in thymic atrophy associated with acute T. cruzi infection.
Project description:Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) can cause significant morbidity in chickens. The thymus provides the essential environment for T cell development; however, the thymus transcriptome has not been examined for gene expression in response to APEC infection. An improved understanding of the host genomic response to APEC infection could inform future breeding programs for disease resistance and APEC control. We therefore analyzed the transcriptome of the thymus of birds challenged with APEC, contrasting susceptible and resistant phenotypes. Thousands of genes were differentially expressed in birds of the 5-day post infection (dpi) challenged-susceptible group vs. 5 dpi non-challenged, in 5 dpi challenged-susceptible vs. 5 dpi challenged-resistant birds, as well as in 5 dpi vs. one dpi challenged-susceptible birds. The Toll-like receptor signaling pathway was the major innate immune response for birds to respond to APEC infection. Moreover, lysosome and cell adhesion molecules pathways were common mechanisms for chicken response to APEC infection. The T-cell receptor signaling pathway, cell cycle, and p53 signaling pathways were significantly activated in resistant birds to resist APEC infection. These results provide a comprehensive assessment of global gene networks and biological functionalities of differentially expressed genes in the thymus under APEC infection. These findings provide novel insights into key molecular genetic mechanisms that differentiate host resistance from susceptibility in this primary lymphoid tissue, the thymus.
Project description:Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disease mediated by autoantibodies against the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) at the neuromuscular junction. MG symptoms are characterized by muscle weaknesses. The thymus of MG patients is very often abnormal and possesses all the characteristics of tertiary lymphoid organs such as neoangiogenesis processes, overexpression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and infiltration of B lymphocytes leading to ectopic germinal center (GC) development. We previously demonstrated that injections of mice with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [Poly(I:C)], a synthetic double-stranded RNA mimicking viral infection, induce thymic changes and trigger MG symptoms. Upon Poly(I:C) injections, we observed increased thymic expressions of ?-AChR, interferon-? and chemokines such as CXCL13 and CCL21 leading to B-cell recruitment. However, these changes were only transient. In order to develop an experimental MG model associated with thymic GCs, we used Poly(I:C) in the classical experimental autoimmune MG model induced by immunizations with purified AChR emulsified in complete Freund's adjuvant. We observed that Poly(I:C) strongly favored the development of MG as almost all mice displayed MG symptoms. Nevertheless, we did not observe any ectopic GC development. We next challenged mice with Poly(I:C) together with other toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists known to be involved in GC development and that are overexpressed in MG thymuses. Imiquimod and CpG oligodeoxynucleotides that activate TLR7 and TLR9, respectively, did not induce thymic changes. In contrast, lipopolysaccharide that activates TLR4 potentiated Poly(I:C) effects and induced a significant expression of CXCL13 mRNA in the thymus associated with a higher recruitment of B cells that induced over time thymic B-lymphoid structures. Altogether, these data suggest that tertiary lymphoid genesis in MG thymus could result from a combined activation of TLR signaling pathways.
Project description:Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disease mainly caused by antiacetylcholine receptor autoantibodies (seropositive (SP) disease) or by Abs against unknown autoantigenic target(s) (seronegative (SN) disease). Thymectomy is usually beneficial although thymic hyperplasia with ectopic germinal centers is mainly observed in SP MG. To understand the role of thymus in the disease process, we compared the thymic transcriptome of non-MG adults to those of SP patients with a low or high degree of hyperplasia or SN patients. Surprisingly, an overexpression of MHC class II, Ig, and B cell marker genes is observed in SP but also SN MG patients. Moreover, we demonstrate an overexpression of CXCL13 in all MG thymuses leading probably to the generalized B cell infiltration. However, we find different chemotactic properties for MG subgroups and, especially, a specific overexpression of CCL21 in hyperplastic thymuses triggering most likely ectopic germinal center development. Besides, SN patients present a peculiar signature with an abnormal expression of genes involved in muscle development and synaptic transmission, but also genes implicated in host response, suggesting that viral infection might be related to SN MG. Altogether, these results underline differential pathogenic mechanisms in the thymus of SP and SN MG and propose new research areas.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Skeletal muscle satellite cells (MSC) are crucial for postnatal growth and regeneration of skeletal muscle. An interaction exists between MSC and intramuscular preadipocytes (IMPA). This study is the first to investigate the effects of IMPA on MSC in chickens and unveil the molecular mechanisms by transcriptome analysis. RESULTS:Primary MSC and IMPA were isolated from the pectoralis major muscle of 7-day-old chickens. After both cell types reached confluence, MSC were cultured alone or co-cultured with IMPA for 2 or 4 d. MSC treated for 2 d were subjected to RNA-seq. A total of 1653 known differentially expressed genes (DEG) were identified between co-cultured and mono-cultured MSC (|log2 FC|???1, FDR?<?0.01). Based on Gene Ontology analysis, 48 DEG related to muscle development were screened, including the key genes MYOD1, MYOG, PAX7, and TMEM8C. The 44 DEG related to lipid deposition included the key genes CD36, FABP4, ACSBG2, CYP7A1 and PLIN2. Most of the DEG related to muscle development were downregulated in co-cultured MSC, and DEG related to lipid deposition were upregulated. Immunofluorescence of MHC supported IMPA impeding differentiation of MSC, and Oil Red O staining showed concurrent promotion of lipid deposition. Pathway analysis found that several key genes were enriched in JNK/MAPK and PPAR signaling, which may be the key pathways regulating differentiation and lipid deposition in MSC. Additionally, pathways related to cell junctions may also contribute to the effect of IMPA on MSC. CONCLUSIONS:The present study showed that IMPA impeded differentiation of MSC while promoting their lipid deposition. Pathway analysis indicated that IMPA might inhibit differentiation via the JNK/MAPK pathway, and promote lipid deposition via the PPAR pathway. This study supplies insights into the effect of IMPA on MSC, providing new clues on exposing the molecular mechanisms underlying the interplay between skeletal muscle and intramuscular fat in chickens.
Project description:The thymus is a primary lymphoid organ, home of maturation and selection of thymocytes for generation of functional T-cells. Multiple factors are involved throughout the different stages of the maturation process to tightly regulate T-cell production. The metabolism of arachidonic acid by cyclooxygenases, lipoxygenases and specific isomerases generates eicosanoids, lipid mediators capable of triggering cellular responses. In this study, we determined the profile of expression of the eicosanoids present in the mouse thymus at different stages of thymocyte development. As the group IVA cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2?) catalyzes the hydrolysis of phospholipids, thereby generating arachidonic acid, we further verified its contribution by including cPLA2? deficient mice to our investigations. We found that a vast array of eicosanoids is expressed in the thymus, which expression is substantially modulated through thymocyte development. The cPLA2? was dispensable in the generation of most eicosanoids in the thymus and consistently, the ablation of the cPLA2? gene in mouse thymus and the culture of thymuses from human newborns in presence of the cPLA2? inhibitor pyrrophenone did not impact thymocyte maturation. This study provides information on the eicosanoid repertoire present during thymocyte development and suggests that thymocyte maturation can occur independently of cPLA2?.