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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 8347085, 12 pages
Research Article

Identification of Transcriptional Modules and Key Genes in Chickens Infected with Salmonella enterica Serovar Pullorum Using Integrated Coexpression Analyses

1State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, Key Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu, China
2Jiangsu Co-Innovation Center for Prevention and Control of Important Animal Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses, Yangzhou, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Jian-Ping Cai; nc.saac@gnipnaijiac

Received 14 November 2016; Revised 1 March 2017; Accepted 27 March 2017; Published 26 April 2017

Academic Editor: Ansgar Poetsch

Copyright © 2017 Bao-Hong Liu and Jian-Ping Cai. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Salmonella enterica Pullorum is one of the leading causes of mortality in poultry. Understanding the molecular response in chickens in response to the infection by S. enterica is important in revealing the mechanisms of pathogenesis and disease progress. There have been studies on identifying genes associated with Salmonella infection by differential expression analysis, but the relationships among regulated genes have not been investigated. In this study, we employed weighted gene coexpression network analysis (WGCNA) and differential coexpression analysis (DCEA) to identify coexpression modules by exploring microarray data derived from chicken splenic tissues in response to the S. enterica infection. A total of 19 modules from 13,538 genes were associated with the Jak-STAT signaling pathway, the extracellular matrix, cytoskeleton organization, the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton, G-protein coupled receptor activity, Toll-like receptor signaling pathways, and immune system processes; among them, 14 differentially coexpressed modules (DCMs) and 2,856 differentially coexpressed genes (DCGs) were identified. The global expression of module genes between infected and uninfected chickens showed slight differences but considerable changes for global coexpression. Furthermore, DCGs were consistently linked to the hubs of the modules. These results will help prioritize candidate genes for future studies of Salmonella infection.