Coccidiosis Control in broilers - vaccine development aided by transcriptome analysis
Intracellular protozoan parasites of genus Eimeria cause the disease coccidiosis in chickens, which is the economically most important disease in commercial broiler production. The overall aim of the project is to generate novel knowledge about the induction of protective immunity to Eimeria infections in chickens by monitoring host-parasite interaction in vitro (at the transcriptome level in parasite infected cell cultures and in cell function assays) and in vivo in experimentally infected birds. We will 1) identify proteins that are induced and signalling pathways that are activated in response to parasite infection in the infected host cell and in immune cells; 2) identify parasite proteins/mechanisms involved in evasion and induction of the immune response; 3) identify crucial immune mechanisms involved in protective immunity against the parasites. The results generated hereby are novel and will enable us to continue the project by evaluating adjuvants and novel sub-unit vaccines for induction of protective immune responses. Our results will hence create new means to control poultry coccidiosis, which will improve animal health and welfare, the economy of the poultry producers and in the long run contribute to improving global food resources. Furthermore, knowledge gained from these studies will contribute to the general understanding of immunity to Apicompexan parasites and also to the field of chicken immunology.