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How does the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) immune system recognise the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) from its non-pathogenic form RCV-A1?

Infection with RCV-A1 is predicted to be different from that with RHDV. RCV-A1 causes no mortality while RHDV mortalities can be as high as 95-100%. In addition, RCV-A1 RNA has been isolated in the small intestine with highest amounts found at the duodenum and jejunum suggesting that primary replication occurs in the proximal intestine while for RHDV, virus replication occurs mainly in the hepatocytes suggesting that mechanisms of resistance may not be confined only to the mucosal barrier. Different Ig titres have also been correlated with infection by these viruses. Altogether, this suggests that both viruses might be differently recognised by the rabbit immune system both in terms of receptors, tissue expression of the receptors and innate and adaptive immune responses triggered.

This project constitutes the first study on the rabbit immune response against RHDV by comparing both innate and adaptive immune responses against pathogenic and non-pathogenic forms (RCV-A1). For this, the genes involved in the innate and adaptive immunity against RHDV and RCV-A1 will be characterised.

Principal Investigator
Joana Abrantes

Joana Abrantes

Position: Auxiliary Researcher
Proponent Institution
Funded by
2012 (Duration: 3 years)
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