Molecular characterization of immunoinhibitory factors PD-1/PD-L1 in chickens infected with Marek's disease virus
An immunoinhibitory receptor, programmed death-1 (PD-1), and its ligand, programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), are involved in immune evasion mechanisms for several pathogens causing chronic infections and for neoplastic diseases. However, little has been reported for the functions of these molecules in chickens.
Thus, in this study, their expressions and roles were analyzed in chickens infected with Marek's disease virus (MDV), which induces immunosuppression in infected chickens.
A chicken T cell line, Lee1, which constitutively produces IFN-gamma was co-cultured with DF-1 cells, which is a spontaneously immortalized chicken fibroblast cell line, transiently expressing PD-L1, and the IFN-gamma expression level was analyzed in the cell line by real-time RT-PCR. The IFN-gamma expression was significantly decreased in Lee1 cells co-cultured with DF-1 cells expressing PD-L1.
The expression level of PD-1 was increased in chickens at the early cytolytic phase of the MDV infection, while the PD-L1 expression level was increased at the latent phase. In addition, the expression levels of PD-1 and PD-L1 were increased at tumor lesions found in MDV-challenged chickens. The expressions levels of PD-1 and PD-L1 were also increased in the spleens and tumors derived from MDV-infected chickens in the field.
We demonstrated that the chicken PD-1/PD-L1 pathway has immunoinhibitory functions, and PD-1 may be involved in MD pathogenesis at the early cytolytic phase of the MDV infection, whereas PD-L1 could contribute to the establishment and maintenance of MDV latency. We also observed the increased expressions of PD-1 and PD-L1 in tumors from MDV-infected chickens, suggesting that tumor cells transformed by MDV highly express PD-1 and PD-L1 and thereby could evade from immune responses of the host.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Ayumi Matsuyama-Kato, Shiro Murata, Masayoshi Isezaki, Rika Kano, Sara Takasaki, Osamu Ichii, Satoru Konnai, Kazuhiko Ohashi and BioMed Central.