Document Type


Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

PLoS One





First Page


Last Page



10.1371/journal. pone.0142570


Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) has major negative impacts on human and animal health. Recent research suggests food-borne links between human and animal ExPEC diseases with particular concern for poultry contaminated with avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC), the avian ExPEC. APEC is also a very important animal pathogen, causing colibacillosis, one of the world’s most widespread bacterial diseases of poultry. Previous studies showed marked atrophy and lymphocytes depletion in the bursa during APEC infection. Thus, a more comprehensive understanding of the avian bursa response to APEC infection will facilitate genetic selection for disease resistance. Four-week-old commercial male broiler chickens were infected with APEC O1 or given saline as a control. Bursas were collected at 1 and 5 days post-infection (dpi). Based on lesion scores of liver, pericardium and air sacs, infected birds were classified as having mild or severe pathology, representing resistant and susceptible phenotypes, respectively. Twenty-two individual bursa RNA libraries were sequenced, each yielding an average of 27 million single-end, 100-bp reads. There were 2469 novel genes in the total of 16,603 detected. Large numbers of significantly differentially expressed (DE) genes were detected when comparing susceptible and resistant birds at 5 dpi, susceptible and non-infected birds at 5 dpi, and susceptible birds at 5 dpi and 1 dpi. The DE genes were associated with signal transduction, the immune response, cell growth and cell death pathways. These data provide considerable insight into potential mechanisms of resistance to ExPEC infection, thus paving the way to develop strategies for ExPEC prevention and treatment, as well as enhancing innate resistance by genetic selection in animals.


This article is from PLoS One 10 (2015): e0142570, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0142570. Posted with permission.


This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Copyright Owner

Hongyan Sun, et al.



File Format