Identification and characterization of long intergenic noncoding RNAs associated with Marek's disease resistance in chicken
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Marek's disease (MD) is a highly contagious lymphomatous disease of chicken caused by Marek's disease virus (MDV). MDV has steadily evolved toward increased resistance and virulence over the past decades. A promising strategy for MD prevention and control would be the enhancement of genetic resistance. This study aimed to investigate the roles of long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) in MD resistance and susceptibility in chickens. We reported more than 1000 lincRNA loci in chicken. Computational functional annotation suggested that lincRNAs were involved in a wide range of biological processes. Moreover, distinct lincRNA expression signatures were observed between MD resistance and susceptible chickens. Additionally, a candidate lincRNA termed linc-stab1 was identified and it may play an important role in MD immune response by regulating a nearby protein-coding gene STAB1. In summary, our results demonstrated that lincRNAs also play an important role in MD resistance and provide good candidates for hypothesis-driven functional studies.