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Poult Sci. 2014 Jan;93(1):31-8. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03512.

An association between genetic variation in the roundabout, axon guidance receptor, homolog 2 gene and immunity traits in chickens.

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  • 1Institute of Animal Science, Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China; and State Key Laboratory of Livestock and Poultry Breeding, Guangzhou 510640, China.


The roundabout, axon guidance receptor, homolog 2 (ROBO2) gene is one member of the roundabout (ROBO) family, which belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily. The ROBO molecules are known to function in axon guidance and cell migration and are involved in SLIT/ROBO signaling. In this study, we obtained the full-length cDNA sequence of the chicken ROBO2 gene. Sequence analysis indicated that 3 SNP (1418G > A, 1421C > A and 2462T > C) exist in exons 5 and 12 of the ROBO2 gene. Genotyping results revealed that the allele frequency of SNP 1421C > A was similar in all tested breeds, but the allele frequencies of the other 2 SNP were different between White Leghorn and Chinese indigenous chickens. Allele G of 1418G > A and allele T of 2462T > C predominated in the Chinese indigenous breed, whereas alleles A and C predominated in the White Leghorn breed. Association analyses revealed that birds with the GG genotype of SNP 1418G > A or the TT genotype of SNP 2462T > C had significantly higher antibody responses to Newcastle disease virus (NDV_S/P; P < 0.01) than carriers of the A allele (GA and AA) or the C allele (TC), respectively. Real-time PCR further revealed that ROBO2 expression in the spleens of the birds with higher antibody responses (GG and TT genotypes at SNP 1418 and 2462, respectively) was significantly higher than in the spleens of birds with the AA and AG genotypes at SNP 1418 or the TC genotype at SNP 2462 (P < 0.01). The results demonstrated that genetic variation at the ROBO2 gene plays a key role in the immune response to Newcastle disease virus, and SNP 1418G > A and 2462T > C can be used as genetic markers for the selection of chickens with stronger immune responses to Newcastle disease virus.


antibody response to Newcastle disease virus; chicken; pyrosequencing technology; roundabout, axon guidance receptor, homolog 2; single nucleotide polymorphism

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