The entire chicken genome sequence will be available by the time this review is in press. Chickens will be the first production animal species to enter the "postgenomic era." This fundamental structural genomics achievement allows, for the first time, complete functional genomics approaches for understanding the molecular basis of chicken normo- and pathophysiology. The functional genomics paradigm, which contrasts with classical functional genetic investigations of one gene (or few) in isolation, is the systematic holistic genetic analyses of biological systems in defined contexts. Context-dependent gene interactions are the fundamental mechanics of all life. Functional genomics uses high-throughput large-scale experimental methods combined with statistical and computational analyses. Projects with expressed sequence tags in chickens have already allowed the creation of cDNA microarrays for large-scale context-dependant mRNA analysis (transcriptomics). However, proteins are the functional units of almost all biological processes, and protein expression very often bears no correlation to mRNA expression. Proteomics, a discipline within functional genomics, is the context-defined analysis of complete complements of proteins. Proteomics bridges the ~"sequence-to-phenotype gap;" it complements structural and other functional genomics approaches. Proteomics requires high capital investment but has ubiquitous biological applications. Although currently the fastest-growing human biomedical discipline, new paradigms may need to be established for production animal proteomics research. The prospective promise and potential pitfalls of using proteomics approaches to improve poultry pathogen control will be specifically highlighted. The first stage of our recently established proteomics program is global protein profiling to identify differentially expressed proteins in the context of the commercially important pathogens. Our trials and tribulations in establishing our proteomics program, as well some of our initial data to understand chicken immune system function, will be discussed.
- Mass spectrometry
- Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology