Mining the Unmapped Reads in Bovine RNA-Seq Data Reveals the Prevalence of Bovine Herpes Virus-6 in European Dairy Cows and the Associated Changes in Their Phenotype and Leucocyte Transcriptome

Laura Buggiotti, Zhangrui Cheng, D Claire Wathes, GplusE Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microbial RNA is detectable in host samples by aligning unmapped reads from RNA sequencing against taxon reference sequences, generating a score proportional to the microbial load. An RNA-Seq data analysis showed that 83.5% of leukocyte samples from six dairy herds in different EU countries contained bovine herpes virus-6 (BoHV-6). Phenotypic data on milk production, metabolic function, and disease collected during their first 50 days in milk (DIM) were compared between cows with low (1-200 and n = 114) or high (201-1175 and n = 24) BoHV-6 scores. There were no differences in milk production parameters, but high score cows had numerically fewer incidences of clinical mastitis (4.2% vs. 12.2%) and uterine disease (54.5% vs. 62.7%). Their metabolic status was worse, based on measurements of IGF-1 and various metabolites in blood and milk. A comparison of the global leukocyte transcriptome between high and low BoHV-6 score cows at around 14 DIM yielded 485 differentially expressed genes (DEGs). The top pathway from Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis was the immune system process. Down-regulated genes in the high BoHV-6 cows included those encoding proteins involved in viral detection (DDX6 and DDX58), interferon response, and E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. This suggested that BoHV-6 may largely evade viral detection and that it does not cause clinical disease in dairy cows.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1451
JournalViruses
Volume12
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 16 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Cattle/virology
  • Female
  • Gammaherpesvirinae/genetics
  • Leukocytes/metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence
  • RNA-Seq
  • Transcriptome

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