Molecular pathogenesis of aquatic bird bornavirus

The aim of this project is to determine the molecular basis associated with host restriction of avian bornaviruses, specifically aquatic bird bornavirus-1 (ABBV-1). The project seeks to assess differentially regulated genes and pathways in tissues (ex vivo) and cell lines (in vitro) of avian species (waterfowl, gallinaceous species including poultry), which show different degrees of susceptibility to ABBV-1 infection. The candidate will work with RNAseq data derived from brains of chickens and ducks infected with ABBV-1 at 1 day of age, and harvested 12 weeks post infection, as well as with RNAseq data from primary goose and chicken embryo fibroblasts infected with ABBV-1 at a high multiplicity of infection. Differential expression of select genes will be confirmed by RT-qPCR and maybe further investigated through knock-out experiments in cell lines, to evaluation possible changes in permissivity to infection. Additionally, the project will seek to detect genomic mutations in ABBV-1 adapted to replicate in chickens and ducks, in order to determine any molecular signature in the virus genome that could predict host restriction.   
Avian bornaviruses (ABVs) are emerging pathogens that have been recently detected in an increasing number of avian species. Given the broad host range of ABVs, transmission and establishment of these viruses in poultry species is a possible threat. Assessing the host restriction and pathogenesis of ABVs for poultry species is essential to identify and prioritize the threat that these viruses may pose to the poultry industry.