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Microsatellite instability in Marek’s Disease Virus infected primary chicken embryo fibroblasts

Zhenlei Zhou, Dawei Yao, Yan Qiu and Deji Yang*

Author Affiliations

College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210095, P.R. China

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:193  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-193

Published: 11 September 2012



Marek’s disease virus (MDV), an oncogenic α-herpes virus, causes a devastating disease in chickens characterized by development of lymphoblastoid tumors in multiple organs. Microsatellite instability (MSI), a symptom of defect in DNA mismatch repair function, is a form of genomic instability frequently detected in many types of tumors. However, the involvement of MSI in MDV-infected cells has not been investigated. In this study, we determined the presence and frequency of MSI in primary chicken embryo fibroblasts infected with or without MDV strain in vitro.


118 distinct microsatellite markers were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 21 samples. MSI was found in 91 of 118 markers, and 12 out of 118 demonstrated frequency of MSI at ≥ 40%. 27 of 118 microsatellite loci did not show microsatellite instability.


These findings showed that MSI was a real event occurring in primary chicken embryo fibroblasts infected with MDV in vitro as evidenced by the high frequency of MSI, and may be specifically associated with genome alteration of host cells during MDV infected.

Microsatellite instability, Marek’s disease virus; Chicken embryo fibroblasts