ClosedAgriculture & Agri-food

Characterization of miRNAs and their targets in food animal pathogen infection models for potential use as markers for improvement of food safety

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) Leluo Guan & Paul Stothard (University of Alberta)
FUNDER Genome Alberta - Alberta Livestock Genomics Program (ALGP)
PROJECT START DATE January 1, 2011
PROJECT END DATE September 30, 2014
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Alberta - Alberta Livestock Genomics Program (ALGP)

This project seeks to investigate the potential role of non-coding RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNA), in the control of zoonotic infections in pigs (Salmonella) and cattle (E. coli 0157:H7). MicroRNAs have been shown to control several aspects of human/mouse immune responses but have been poorly investigated in livestock immunity. The long-term goal of the project is to develop tools that can lead to a reduction in zoonotic organisms entering the food chain, thereby improving the effectiveness of upstream (post-farm and lairage) controls. To achieve this the team will: 1) profile miRNAs in whole blood samples collected from two well established models: Salmonella challenged pigs and E. coli O157:H7 challenged cows, with transcriptome analysis of the same whole blood samples, 2) develop a bioinformatic pipeline to identify the miRNA targets, and 3) identify and validate miRNA regulated shedding mechanisms to discover biomarkers for high and low shedders from blood in pig and cattle. The benefits of this project extend beyond a fostering a more sustainable and healthy livestock and possibly will reduce the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans through pathogen-contaminated meat and milk products.

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