BBSRC-funded studentship: Genetic and functional analysis of the chicken interleukin-1 gene family

Lead Research Organisation: The Pirbright Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


Interleukin 1 (IL-1) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine pivotal in innate immunity and vital for ensuring an appropriate inflammatory response. The delicate balance between expression and degradation of the various components of IL-1 signalling determine the outcome of an inflammatory reaction. Although the various components and pathways for IL-1 signalling are well characterised in mammals, little is known for avian species. Phylogenetic analyses of the IL-1 gene family sequences from fish, amphibian and mammalian species reveal that only a limited number of mammalian IL-1 family members have orthologues in fish; indicating the relatively recent origin of some of the IL-1 gene family members. The release of the first draft of the chicken genome now allows us to bridge the phylogenetic gap not previously covered by any other genome. Our initial aim will be to examine the IL-1 family orthologues in chicken and to elucidate the functional effect of each in innate immunity. The results will clarify the extent of the IL-1 cytokine family and its functionality in chicken innate immunity that cannot be answered by current model vertebrates (Fugu and Human). Once the full extent of the members of the IL-1 gene family has been established, we will examine each of the loci for polymorphisms between inbred chicken lines at IAH. Polymorphisms within genes controlling innate immune responses may affect their function and/or expression, which may account for the differences observed in resistance to disease. The impact of polymorphism within the IL-1 gene family on innate immunity will be assessed in a Salmonella infection of inbred line N (susceptible) and line 61 (resistant) chickens. Haplotypic and single marker association analyses for each of the IL-1 genes will be conducted on the genomic DNA collected from these experiments.


10 25 50