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Host-genetic control of influenza virus infection has been the object of little attention. In this study we determined that two inbred lines of chicken differing in their genetic background , Lines 0 and C-B12, were respectively relatively resistant and susceptible to infection with the low pathogenicity influenza virus A/Turkey/England/647/77 as defined by substantial differences in viral shedding trajectories. Resistant birds, although infected, were unable to transmit virus to contact birds, as ultimately only the presence of a sustained cloacal shedding (and not oropharyngeal shedding) was critical for transmission. Restriction of within-bird transmission of virus occurred in the resistant line, with intra-nares or cloacal infection resulting in only local shedding and failing to transmit fully through the gastro-intestinal-pulmonary tract. Resistance to infection was independent of adaptive immune responses, including the expansion of specific IFNγ secreting cells or production of influenza-specific antibody. Genetic resistance to a novel H9N2 virus was less robust, though significant differences between host genotypes were still clearly evident. The existence of host-genetic determination of the outcome of influenza infection offers tools for the further dissection of this regulation and also for understanding the mechanisms of influenza transmission within and between birds.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Rep

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Adaptive Immunity, Animals, Antibodies, Viral, Cells, Cultured, Chick Embryo, Chickens, Cloaca, Fibroblasts, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genotype, Inbreeding, Influenza A Virus, H7N7 Subtype, Influenza A Virus, H9N2 Subtype, Influenza in Birds, Oropharynx, Poultry Diseases, Virus Replication, Virus Shedding