Differential Responsiveness of Holstein and Angus Dermal Fibroblasts to Lps Challenge occurs without Major Differences in the Methylome

Aimee L. Benjamin, University of Vermont
Benjamin B. Green, Dartmouth College
Brian A. Crooker, University of Minnesota
Stephanie D. McKay, University of Vermont
David E. Kerr, University of Vermont


Background: We have previously found substantial animal-to-animal and age-dependent variation in the response of Holstein fibroblast cultures challenged with LPS. To expand on this finding, fibroblast cultures were established from dairy (Holstein) and beef (Angus) cattle and challenged with LPS to examine breed-dependent differences in the innate immune response. Global gene expression was measured by RNA-Seq, while an epigenetic basis for expression differences was examined by methylated CpG island recovery assay sequencing (MIRA-Seq) analysis. Results: The Holstein breed displayed a more robust response to LPS than the Angus breed based on RNA-Seq analysis of cultures challenged with LPS for 0, 2, and 8 h. Several immune-associated genes were expressed at greater levels (FDR < 0.05) in Holstein cultures including TLR4 at all time points and a number of pro-inflammatory genes such as IL8, CCL20, CCL5 ,and TNF following LPS exposure. Despite extensive breed differences in the transcriptome, MIRA- Seq unveiled relatively similar patterns of genome-wide DNA methylation between breeds, with an overall hypomethylation of gene promoters. However, by examining the genome in 3Kb windows, 49 regions of differential methylation were discovered between Holstein and Angus fibroblasts, and two of these regions fell within the promoter region (-2500 to +500 bp of the transcription start site) of the genes NTRK2 and ADAMTS5 . Conclusions: Fibroblasts isolated from Holstein cattle display a more robust response to LPS in comparison to cultures from Angus cattle. Different selection strategies and management practices exist between these two breeds that likely give rise to genetic and epigenetic factors contributing to the different immune response phenotypes.