Control of Infectious Diseases
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Visualising the chicken immune system at work

Chickens myeloid cells expressing fluorescent proteins shed light on how the avian immune system develops and responds to infection.

Visualising the chicken immune system at work

The myeloid lineage includes cells that are vital for fighting infection, such as macrophages, dendritic cells and granulocytes.  We have produced transgenic chicken lines in which cells of the myeloid lineage express a fluorescent protein under the control of components of the chicken CSF1R promoter and enhancer, allowing these cells to be visualised. 

The introduction of a fluorescent marker in these ‘MacReporter’ birds has helped to understand how the avian immune system develops, responds to infection, and generates protection.

The ‘MacReporter’ birds are one of many resources supplied by the National Avian Research Facility

Original publications

  • Garceau V, et al. (2015) The development and maintenance of the mononuclear phagocyte system of the chick is controlled by signals from the macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor. BMC Biol.; 13:12. doi: 10.1186/s12915-015-0121-9.
  • Balic A et al. (2014) Visualisation of chicken macrophages using transgenic reporter genes: insights into the development of the avian macrophage lineage. Development 141:3255-65. doi: 10.1242/dev.105593