Publications by authors named "Rebecca L Skalsky"

29 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

B Cell Receptor-Responsive miR-141 Enhances Epstein-Barr Virus Lytic Cycle via FOXO3 Inhibition.

mSphere 2021 Apr 14;6(2). Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Antigen recognition by the B cell receptor (BCR) is a physiological trigger for reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and can be recapitulated by cross-linking of surface immunoglobulins. Previously, we identified a subset of EBV microRNAs (miRNAs) that attenuate BCR signal transduction and subsequently dampen lytic reactivation in B cells. The roles of host miRNAs in the EBV lytic cycle are not completely understood. Here, we profiled the small RNAs in reactivated Burkitt lymphoma cells and identified several miRNAs, such as miR-141, that are induced upon BCR cross-linking. Notably, EBV encodes a viral miRNA, miR-BART9, with sequence homology to miR-141. To better understand the functions of these two miRNAs, we examined their molecular targets and experimentally validated multiple candidates commonly regulated by both miRNAs. Targets included B cell transcription factors and known regulators of EBV immediate-early genes, leading us to hypothesize that these miRNAs modulate kinetics of the lytic cascade in B cells. Through functional assays, we identified roles for miR-141 and EBV miR-BART9 and one specific target, FOXO3, in progression of the lytic cycle. Our data support a model whereby EBV exploits BCR-responsive miR-141 and further mimics activity of this miRNA family via a viral miRNA to promote productive lytic replication. EBV is a human pathogen associated with several malignancies. A key aspect of lifelong virus persistence is the ability to switch between latent and lytic replication modes. The mechanisms governing latency, reactivation, and progression of the lytic cycle are only partly understood. This study reveals that specific miRNAs can act to support the EBV lytic phase following BCR-mediated reactivation triggers. Furthermore, this study identifies a role for FOXO3, commonly suppressed by both host and viral miRNAs, in modulating progression of the EBV lytic cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00093-21DOI Listing
April 2021

Multiple Viral microRNAs Regulate Interferon Release and Signaling Early during Infection with Epstein-Barr Virus.

mBio 2021 03 30;12(2). Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Research Unit Gene Vectors, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health and German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Partner site Munich, Munich, Germany

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a human herpesvirus, encodes 44 microRNAs (miRNAs), which regulate many genes with various functions in EBV-infected cells. Multiple target genes of the EBV miRNAs have been identified, some of which play important roles in adaptive antiviral immune responses. Using EBV mutant derivatives, we identified additional roles of viral miRNAs in governing versatile type I interferon (IFN) responses upon infection of human primary mature B cells. We also found that Epstein-Barr virus-encoded small RNAs (EBERs) and LF2, viral genes with previously reported functions in inducing or regulating IFN-I pathways, had negligible or even contrary effects on secreted IFN-α in our model. Data mining and Ago PAR-CLIP experiments uncovered more than a dozen previously uncharacterized, direct cellular targets of EBV miRNA associated with type I IFN pathways. We also identified indirect targets of EBV miRNAs in B cells, such as TRL7 and TLR9, in the prelatent phase of infection. The presence of epigenetically naive, non-CpG methylated viral DNA was essential to induce IFN-α secretion during EBV infection in a TLR9-dependent manner. In a newly established fusion assay, we verified that EBV virions enter a subset of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) and determined that these infected pDCs are the primary producers of IFN-α in EBV-infected peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Our findings document that many EBV-encoded miRNAs regulate type I IFN response in newly EBV infected primary human B cells in the prelatent phase of infection and dampen the acute release of IFN-α in pDCs upon their encounter with EBV. Acute antiviral functions of all nucleated cells rely on type I interferon (IFN-I) pathways triggered upon viral infection. Host responses encompass the sensing of incoming viruses, the activation of specific transcription factors that induce the transcription of IFN-I genes, the secretion of different IFN-I types and their recognition by the heterodimeric IFN-α/β receptor, the subsequent activation of JAK/STAT signaling pathways, and, finally, the transcription of many IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). In sum, these cellular functions establish a so-called antiviral state in infected and neighboring cells. To counteract these cellular defense mechanisms, viruses have evolved diverse strategies and encode gene products that target antiviral responses. Among such immune-evasive factors are viral microRNAs (miRNAs) that can interfere with host gene expression. We discovered that multiple miRNAs of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) control over a dozen cellular genes that contribute to the antiviral states of immune cells, specifically B cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). We identified the viral DNA genome as the activator of IFN-α and question the role of abundant EBV EBERs, that, contrary to previous reports, do not have an apparent inducing function in the IFN-I pathway early after infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.03440-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8092300PMC
March 2021

Regulation of Latency and Reactivation by Human Cytomegalovirus miRNAs.

Pathogens 2021 Feb 13;10(2). Epub 2021 Feb 13.

Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, OR 97006, USA.

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes 22 mature microRNAs (miRNAs), which regulate a myriad of cellular processes, including vesicular trafficking, cell cycle progression, apoptosis, and immune evasion, as well as viral gene expression. Recent evidence points to a critical role for HCMV miRNAs in mediating latency in CD34 hematopoietic progenitor cells through modulation of cellular signaling pathways, including attenuation of TGFβ and EGFR signaling. Moreover, HCMV miRNAs can act in concert with, or in opposition to, viral proteins in regulating host cell functions. Here, we comprehensively review the studies of HCMV miRNAs in the context of latency and highlight the novel processes that are manipulated by the virus using these small non-coding RNAs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10020200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7918750PMC
February 2021

Techniques for Characterizing Cytomegalovirus-Encoded miRNAs.

Methods Mol Biol 2021 ;2244:301-342

Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Beaverton, OR, USA.

microRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level by binding to sites within the 3' untranslated regions of messenger RNA (mRNA) transcripts. The discovery of this completely new mechanism of gene regulation necessitated the development of a variety of techniques to further characterize miRNAs, their expression, and function. In this chapter, we will discuss techniques currently used in the miRNA field to detect, express and inhibit miRNAs, as well as methods used to identify and validate their targets, specifically with respect to the miRNAs encoded by human cytomegalovirus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-1111-1_16DOI Listing
April 2021

Role of IL-15 Signaling in the Pathogenesis of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in Rhesus Macaques.

J Immunol 2019 12 25;203(11):2928-2943. Epub 2019 Oct 25.

Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Beaverton, OR 97006;

Although IL-15 has been implicated in the pathogenic hyperimmune activation that drives progressive HIV and SIV infection, as well as in the generation of HIV/SIV target cells, it also supports NK and T cell homeostasis and effector activity, potentially benefiting the host. To understand the role of IL-15 in SIV infection and pathogenesis, we treated two cohorts of SIVmac239-infected rhesus macaques (RM; ), one with chronic infection, the other with primary infection, with a rhesusized, IL-15-neutralizing mAb (versus an IgG isotype control) for up to 10 wk ( = 7-9 RM per group). In both cohorts, anti-IL-15 was highly efficient at blocking IL-15 signaling in vivo, causing 1) profound depletion of NK cells in blood and tissues throughout the treatment period; 2) substantial, albeit transient, depletion of CD8 effector memory T cells (T) (but not the naive and central memory subsets); and 3) CD4 and CD8 T hyperproliferation. In primary infection, reduced frequencies of SIV-specific effector T cells in an extralymphoid tissue site were also observed. Despite these effects, the kinetics and extent of SIV replication, CD4 T cell depletion, and the onset of AIDS were comparable between anti-IL-15- and control-treated groups in both cohorts. However, RM treated with anti-IL-15 during primary infection manifested accelerated reactivation of RM rhadinovirus. Thus, IL-15 support of NK cell and T homeostasis does not play a demonstrable, nonredundant role in SIV replication or CD4 T cell deletion dynamics but may contribute to immune control of oncogenic γ-herpesviruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1900792DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6864325PMC
December 2019

Epstein-Barr virus microRNAs regulate B cell receptor signal transduction and lytic reactivation.

PLoS Pathog 2019 01 7;15(1):e1007535. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, Oregon, United States of America.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional regulatory RNAs that can modulate cell signaling and play key roles in cell state transitions. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) expresses >40 viral miRNAs that manipulate both viral and cellular gene expression patterns and contribute to reprogramming of the host environment during infection. Here, we identified a subset of EBV miRNAs that desensitize cells to B cell receptor (BCR) stimuli, and attenuate the downstream activation of NF-kappaB or AP1-dependent transcription. Bioinformatics and pathway analysis of Ago PAR-CLIP datasets identified multiple EBV miRNA targets related to BCR signal transduction, including GRB2, SOS1, MALT1, RAC1, and INPP5D, which we validated in reporter assays. BCR signaling is critical for B cell activation, proliferation, and differentiation, and for EBV, is linked to reactivation. In functional assays, we demonstrate that EBV miR-BHRF1-2-5p contributes to the growth of latently infected B cells through GRB2 regulation. We further determined that activities of EBV miR-BHRF1-2-5p, EBV miR-BART2-5p, and a cellular miRNA, miR-17-5p, directly regulate virus reactivation triggered by BCR engagement. Our findings provide mechanistic insight into some of the key miRNA interactions impacting the proliferation of latently infected B cells and importantly, governing the latent to lytic switch.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1007535DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6336353PMC
January 2019

An Epstein-Barr Virus MicroRNA Blocks Interleukin-1 (IL-1) Signaling by Targeting IL-1 Receptor 1.

J Virol 2017 11 13;91(21). Epub 2017 Oct 13.

Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encodes >44 viral microRNAs (miRNAs) that are differentially expressed throughout infection, can be detected in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive tumors, and manipulate several biological processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, and immune responses. Here, we show that EBV BHRF1-2 miRNAs block NF-κB activation following treatment with proinflammatory cytokines, specifically interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Analysis of EBV PAR-CLIP miRNA targetome data sets combined with pathway analysis revealed multiple BHRF1-2 miRNA targets involved in interleukin signaling pathways. By further analyzing changes in cellular gene expression patterns, we identified the IL-1 receptor 1 (IL1R1) as a direct target of miR-BHRF1-2-5p. Targeting the IL1R1 3' untranslated region (UTR) by EBV miR-BHRF1-2-5p was confirmed using 3'-UTR luciferase reporter assays and Western blot assays. Manipulation of EBV BHRF1-2 miRNA activity in latently infected B cells altered steady-state cytokine levels and disrupted IL-1β responsiveness. These studies demonstrate functionally relevant BHRF1-2 miRNA interactions during EBV infection, which is an important step in understanding their roles in pathogenesis. IL-1 signaling plays an important role in inflammation and early activation of host innate immune responses following virus infection. Here, we demonstrate that a viral miRNA downregulates the IL-1 receptor 1 during EBV infection, which consequently alters the responsiveness of cells to IL-1 stimuli and changes the cytokine expression levels within infected cell populations. We postulate that this viral miRNA activity not only disrupts IL-1 autocrine and paracrine signaling loops that can alert effector cells to sites of infection but also provides a survival advantage by dampening excessive inflammation that may be detrimental to the infected cell.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00530-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5640834PMC
November 2017

Roles of Non-coding RNAs During Herpesvirus Infection.

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 2018;419:243-280

Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, OR, USA.

Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) play essential roles in multiple aspects of the life cycles of herpesviruses and contribute to lifelong persistence of herpesviruses within their respective hosts. In this chapter, we discuss the types of ncRNAs produced by the different herpesvirus families during infection, some of the cellular ncRNAs manipulated by these viruses, and the overall contributions of ncRNAs to the viral life cycle, influence on the host environment, and pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/82_2017_31DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5754267PMC
June 2019

Analysis of Viral and Cellular MicroRNAs in EBV-Infected Cells.

Methods Mol Biol 2017 ;1532:133-146

Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, 505 NW 185th Avenue, Beaverton, OR, USA.

MicroRNAs are small, noncoding RNAs that posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression. The discovery of this relatively new mode of gene regulation as well as studies showing the prognostic value of viral and cellular miRNAs as biomarkers, such as in cancer progression, has stimulated the development of many methods to characterize miRNAs. EBV encodes 25 viral precursor microRNAs within its genome that are expressed during lytic and latent infection. In addition to viral miRNAs, EBV infection induces the expression of specific cellular oncogenic miRNAs, such as miR-155, miR-146a, miR-21, and others, that can contribute to the persistence of latently infected cells. This chapter describes several current techniques used to identify and detect the expression of viral and cellular miRNAs in EBV-infected cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-6655-4_9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5685176PMC
January 2018

Japanese Macaque Rhadinovirus Encodes a Viral MicroRNA Mimic of the miR-17 Family.

J Virol 2016 10 29;90(20):9350-63. Epub 2016 Sep 29.

Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Beaverton, Oregon, USA.

Unlabelled: Japanese macaque (JM) rhadinovirus (JMRV) is a novel, gamma-2 herpesvirus that was recently isolated from JM with inflammatory demyelinating encephalomyelitis (JME). JME is a spontaneous and chronic disease with clinical characteristics and immunohistopathology comparable to those of multiple sclerosis in humans. Little is known about the molecular biology of JMRV. Here, we sought to identify and characterize the small RNAs expressed during lytic JMRV infection using deep sequencing. Fifteen novel viral microRNAs (miRNAs) were identified in JMRV-infected fibroblasts, all of which were readily detectable by 24 h postinfection and accumulated to high levels by 72 h. Sequence comparisons to human Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) miRNAs revealed several viral miRNA homologs. To functionally characterize JMRV miRNAs, we screened for their effects on nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling in the presence of two proinflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Multiple JMRV miRNAs suppressed cytokine-induced NF-κB activation. One of these miRNAs, miR-J8, has seed sequence homology to members of the cellular miR-17/20/106 and miR-373 families, which are key players in cell cycle regulation as well as inflammation. Using reporters, we show that miR-J8 can target 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) with miR-17-5p or miR-20a cognate sites. Our studies implicate JMRV miRNAs in the suppression of innate antiviral immune responses, which is an emerging feature of many viral miRNAs.

Importance: Gammaherpesviruses are associated with multiple diseases linked to immunosuppression and inflammation, including AIDS-related cancers and autoimmune diseases. JMRV is a recently identified herpesvirus that has been linked to JME, an inflammatory demyelinating disease in Japanese macaques that mimics multiple sclerosis. There are few large-animal models for gammaherpesvirus-associated pathogenesis. Here, we provide the first experimental evidence of JMRV miRNAs in vitro and demonstrate that one of these viral miRNAs can mimic the activity of the cellular miR-17/20/106 family. Our work provides unique insight into the roles of viral miRNAs during rhadinovirus infection and provides an important step toward understanding viral miRNA function in a nonhuman primate model system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01123-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5044857PMC
October 2016

EBV Noncoding RNAs.

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 2015 ;391:181-217

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.

EBV expresses a number of viral noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) during latent infection, many of which have known regulatory functions and can post-transcriptionally regulate viral and/or cellular gene expression. With recent advances in RNA sequencing technologies, the list of identified EBV ncRNAs continues to grow. EBV-encoded RNAs (EBERs) , the BamHI-A rightward transcripts (BARTs) , a small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) , and viral microRNAs (miRNAs) are all expressed during EBV infection in a variety of cell types and tumors. Recently, additional novel EBV ncRNAs have been identified. Viral miRNAs, in particular, have been under extensive investigation since their initial identification over ten years ago. High-throughput studies to capture miRNA targets have revealed a number of miRNA-regulated viral and cellular transcripts that tie into important biological networks. Functions for many EBV ncRNAs are still unknown; however, roles for many EBV miRNAs in latency and in tumorigenesis have begun to emerge. Ongoing mechanistic studies to elucidate the functions of EBV ncRNAs should unravel additional roles for ncRNAs in the viral life cycle. In this chapter, we will discuss our current knowledge of the types of ncRNAs expressed by EBV, their potential roles in viral latency, and their potential involvement in viral pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-22834-1_6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5685189PMC
December 2015

EBV BART MicroRNAs Target Multiple Pro-apoptotic Cellular Genes to Promote Epithelial Cell Survival.

PLoS Pathog 2015 Jun 12;11(6):e1004979. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America; Center for Virology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous human γ-herpesvirus that can give rise to cancers of both B-cell and epithelial cell origin. In EBV-induced cancers of epithelial origin, including nasopharyngeal carcinomas (NPCs) and gastric carcinomas, the latent EBV genome expresses very high levels of a cluster of 22 viral pre-miRNAs, called the miR-BARTs, and these have previously been shown to confer a degree of resistance to pro-apoptotic drugs. Here, we present an analysis of the ability of individual miR-BART pre-miRNAs to confer an anti-apoptotic phenotype and report that five of the 22 miR-BARTs demonstrate this ability. We next used photoactivatable ribonucleoside-enhanced crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) to globally identify the mRNA targets bound by these miR-BARTs in latently infected epithelial cells. This led to the identification of ten mRNAs encoding pro-apoptotic mRNA targets, all of which could be confirmed as valid targets for the five anti-apoptotic miR-BARTs by indicator assays and by demonstrating that ectopic expression of physiological levels of the relevant miR-BART in the epithelial cell line AGS resulted in a significant repression of the target mRNA as well as the encoded protein product. Using RNA interference, we further demonstrated that knockdown of at least seven of these cellular miR-BART target transcripts phenocopies the anti-apoptotic activity seen upon expression of the relevant EBV miR-BART miRNA. Together, these observations validate previously published reports arguing that the miR-BARTs can exert an anti-apoptotic effect in EBV-infected epithelial cells and provide a mechanistic explanation for this activity. Moreover, these results identify and validate a substantial number of novel mRNA targets for the anti-apoptotic miR-BARTs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1004979DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4466530PMC
June 2015

A "microRNA-like" small RNA expressed by Dengue virus?

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Jun 22;111(23):E2359. Epub 2014 May 22.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Center for Virology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1406854111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4060662PMC
June 2014

Replication of many human viruses is refractory to inhibition by endogenous cellular microRNAs.

J Virol 2014 Jul 7;88(14):8065-76. Epub 2014 May 7.

Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA

The issue of whether viruses are subject to restriction by endogenous microRNAs (miRNAs) and/or by virus-induced small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) in infected human somatic cells has been controversial. Here, we address this question in two ways. First, using deep sequencing, we demonstrate that infection of human cells by the RNA virus dengue virus (DENV) or West Nile virus (WNV) does not result in the production of any virus-derived siRNAs or viral miRNAs. Second, to more globally assess the potential of small regulatory RNAs to inhibit virus replication, we used gene editing to derive human cell lines that lack a functional Dicer enzyme and that therefore are unable to produce miRNAs or siRNAs. Infection of these cells with a wide range of viruses, including DENV, WNV, yellow fever virus, Sindbis virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, measles virus, influenza A virus, reovirus, vesicular stomatitis virus, human immunodeficiency virus type 1, or herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), failed to reveal any enhancement in the replication of any of these viruses, although HSV-1, which encodes at least eight Dicer-dependent viral miRNAs, did replicate somewhat more slowly in the absence of Dicer. We conclude that most, and perhaps all, human viruses have evolved to be resistant to inhibition by endogenous human miRNAs during productive replication and that dependence on a cellular miRNA, as seen with hepatitis C virus, is rare. How viruses have evolved to avoid inhibition by endogenous cellular miRNAs, which are generally highly conserved during metazoan evolution, remains to be determined. Importance: Eukaryotic cells express a wide range of small regulatory RNAs, including miRNAs, that have the potential to inhibit the expression of mRNAs that show sequence complementarity. Indeed, previous work has suggested that endogenous miRNAs have the potential to inhibit viral gene expression and replication. Here, we demonstrate that the replication of a wide range of pathogenic viruses is not enhanced in human cells engineered to be unable to produce miRNAs, indicating that viruses have evolved to be resistant to inhibition by miRNAs. This result is important, as it implies that manipulation of miRNA levels is not likely to prove useful in inhibiting virus replication. It also focuses attention on the question of how viruses have evolved to resist inhibition by miRNAs and whether virus mutants that have lost this resistance might prove useful, for example, in the development of attenuated virus vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00985-14DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4097787PMC
July 2014

Differential RISC association of endogenous human microRNAs predicts their inhibitory potential.

Nucleic Acids Res 2014 Apr 23;42(7):4629-39. Epub 2014 Jan 23.

Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology and Center for Virology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

It has previously been assumed that the generally high stability of microRNAs (miRNAs) reflects their tight association with Argonaute (Ago) proteins, essential components of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). However, recent data have suggested that the majority of mature miRNAs are not, in fact, Ago associated. Here, we demonstrate that endogenous human miRNAs vary widely, by >100-fold, in their level of RISC association and show that the level of Ago binding is a better indicator of inhibitory potential than is the total level of miRNA expression. While miRNAs of closely similar sequence showed comparable levels of RISC association in the same cell line, these varied between different cell types. Moreover, the level of RISC association could be modulated by overexpression of complementary target mRNAs. Together, these data indicate that the level of RISC association of a given endogenous miRNA is regulated by the available RNA targetome and predicts miRNA function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkt1393DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3985621PMC
April 2014

Evolutionary conservation of primate lymphocryptovirus microRNA targets.

J Virol 2014 Feb 20;88(3):1617-35. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology and Center for Virology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and rhesus lymphocryptovirus (rLCV) are closely related gammaherpesviruses in the lymphocryptovirus subgroup that express viral microRNAs (miRNAs) during latent infection. In addition to many host mRNAs, EBV miRNAs are known to target latent viral transcripts, specifically those encoding LMP1, BHRF1, and EBNA2. The mRNA targets of rLCV miRNAs have not been investigated. Using luciferase reporter assays, photoactivatable cross-linking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP), and deep sequencing, we demonstrate that posttranscriptional regulation of LMP1 expression is a conserved function of lymphocryptovirus miRNAs. Furthermore, the mRNAs encoding the rLCV EBNA2 and BHRF1 homologs are regulated by miRNAs in rLCV-infected B cells. Homologous to sites in the EBV LMP1 and BHRF1 3'-untranslated regions (UTRs), we also identified evolutionarily conserved binding sites for the cellular miR-17/20/106 family in the LMP1 and BHRF1 3'UTRs of several primate LCVs. Finally, we investigated the functional consequences of LMP1 targeting by individual EBV BART miRNAs and show that select viral miRNAs play a role in the previously observed modulation of NF-κB activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02071-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3911612PMC
February 2014

MicroRNA-17~92 plays a causative role in lymphomagenesis by coordinating multiple oncogenic pathways.

EMBO J 2013 Aug 6;32(17):2377-91. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

Department of Immunology and Microbial Science, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been broadly implicated in cancer, but their exact function and mechanism in carcinogenesis remain poorly understood. Elevated miR-17~92 expression is frequently found in human cancers, mainly due to gene amplification and Myc-mediated transcriptional upregulation. Here we show that B cell-specific miR-17~92 transgenic mice developed lymphomas with high penetrance and that, conversely, Myc-driven lymphomagenesis stringently requires two intact alleles of miR-17~92. We experimentally identified miR-17~92 target genes by PAR-CLIP and validated select target genes in miR-17~92 transgenic mice. These analyses demonstrate that miR-17~92 drives lymphomagenesis by suppressing the expression of multiple negative regulators of the PI3K and NFκB pathways and by inhibiting the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. Accordingly, miR-17~92-driven lymphoma cells exhibited constitutive activation of the PI3K and NFκB pathways and chemical inhibition of either pathway reduced tumour size and prolonged the survival of lymphoma-bearing mice. These findings establish miR-17~92 as a powerful cancer driver that coordinates the activation of multiple oncogenic pathways, and demonstrate for the first time that chemical inhibition of miRNA downstream pathways has therapeutic value in treating cancers caused by miRNA dysregulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/emboj.2013.178DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3771343PMC
August 2013

MicroRNA target site identification by integrating sequence and binding information.

Nat Methods 2013 Jul 26;10(7):630-3. Epub 2013 May 26.

Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

High-throughput sequencing has opened numerous possibilities for the identification of regulatory RNA-binding events. Cross-linking and immunoprecipitation of Argonaute proteins can pinpoint a microRNA (miRNA) target site within tens of bases but leaves the identity of the miRNA unresolved. A flexible computational framework, microMUMMIE, integrates sequence with cross-linking features and reliably identifies the miRNA family involved in each binding event. It considerably outperforms sequence-only approaches and quantifies the prevalence of noncanonical binding modes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.2489DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3818907PMC
July 2013

The viral and cellular microRNA targetome in lymphoblastoid cell lines.

PLoS Pathog 2012 Jan 26;8(1):e1002484. Epub 2012 Jan 26.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous human herpesvirus linked to a number of B cell cancers and lymphoproliferative disorders. During latent infection, EBV expresses 25 viral pre-microRNAs (miRNAs) and induces the expression of specific host miRNAs, such as miR-155 and miR-21, which potentially play a role in viral oncogenesis. To date, only a limited number of EBV miRNA targets have been identified; thus, the role of EBV miRNAs in viral pathogenesis and/or lymphomagenesis is not well defined. Here, we used photoactivatable ribonucleoside-enhanced crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) combined with deep sequencing and computational analysis to comprehensively examine the viral and cellular miRNA targetome in EBV strain B95-8-infected lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). We identified 7,827 miRNA-interaction sites in 3,492 cellular 3'UTRs. 531 of these sites contained seed matches to viral miRNAs. 24 PAR-CLIP-identified miRNA:3'UTR interactions were confirmed by reporter assays. Our results reveal that EBV miRNAs predominantly target cellular transcripts during latent infection, thereby manipulating the host environment. Furthermore, targets of EBV miRNAs are involved in multiple cellular processes that are directly relevant to viral infection, including innate immunity, cell survival, and cell proliferation. Finally, we present evidence that myc-regulated host miRNAs from the miR-17/92 cluster can regulate latent viral gene expression. This comprehensive survey of the miRNA targetome in EBV-infected B cells represents a key step towards defining the functions of EBV-encoded miRNAs, and potentially, identifying novel therapeutic targets for EBV-associated malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1002484DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3266933PMC
January 2012

Viral microRNA targetome of KSHV-infected primary effusion lymphoma cell lines.

Cell Host Microbe 2011 Nov;10(5):515-26

Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is caused by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and frequently also harbors Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The expression of KSHV- and EBV-encoded microRNAs (miRNAs) in PELs suggests a role for these miRNAs in latency and lymphomagenesis. Using PAR-CLIP, a technology which allows the direct and transcriptome-wide identification of miRNA targets, we delineate the target sites for all viral and cellular miRNAs expressed in PEL cell lines. The resulting data set revealed that KSHV miRNAs directly target more than 2000 cellular mRNAs, including many involved in pathways relevant to KSHV pathogenesis. Moreover, 58% of these mRNAs are also targeted by EBV miRNAs, via distinct binding sites. In addition to a known viral analog of cellular miR-155, we show that KSHV encodes a viral miRNA that mimics cellular miR-142-3p function. In summary, this study identifies an extensive list of KSHV miRNA targets, which are likely to influence viral replication and pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2011.09.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222872PMC
November 2011

Reduced expression of brain-enriched microRNAs in glioblastomas permits targeted regulation of a cell death gene.

PLoS One 2011 2;6(9):e24248. Epub 2011 Sep 2.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Center for Virology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America.

Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive malignant tumor involving glial cells in the human brain. We used high-throughput sequencing to comprehensively profile the small RNAs expressed in glioblastoma and non-tumor brain tissues. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) made up the large majority of small RNAs, and we identified over 400 different cellular pre-miRNAs. No known viral miRNAs were detected in any of the samples analyzed. Cluster analysis revealed several miRNAs that were significantly down-regulated in glioblastomas, including miR-128, miR-124, miR-7, miR-139, miR-95, and miR-873. Post-transcriptional editing was observed for several miRNAs, including the miR-376 family, miR-411, miR-381, and miR-379. Using the deep sequencing information, we designed a lentiviral vector expressing a cell suicide gene, the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) gene, under the regulation of a miRNA, miR-128, that was found to be enriched in non-tumor brain tissue yet down-regulated in glioblastomas, Glioblastoma cells transduced with this vector were selectively killed when cultured in the presence of ganciclovir. Using an in vitro model to recapitulate expression of brain-enriched miRNAs, we demonstrated that neuronally differentiated SH-SY5Y cells transduced with the miRNA-regulated HSV-TK vector are protected from killing by expression of endogenous miR-128. Together, these results provide an in-depth analysis of miRNA dysregulation in glioblastoma and demonstrate the potential utility of these data in the design of miRNA-regulated therapies for the treatment of brain cancers.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0024248PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166303PMC
December 2011

PARalyzer: definition of RNA binding sites from PAR-CLIP short-read sequence data.

Genome Biol 2011 Aug 18;12(8):R79. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.

Crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) protocols have made it possible to identify transcriptome-wide RNA-protein interaction sites. In particular, PAR-CLIP utilizes a photoactivatable nucleoside for more efficient crosslinking. We present an approach, centered on the novel PARalyzer tool, for mapping high-confidence sites from PAR-CLIP deep-sequencing data. We show that PARalyzer delineates sites with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Motif finding identifies the sequence preferences of RNA-binding proteins, as well as seed-matches for highly expressed microRNAs when profiling Argonaute proteins. Our study describes tailored analytical methods and provides guidelines for future efforts to utilize high-throughput sequencing in RNA biology. PARalyzer is available at http://www.genome.duke.edu/labs/ohler/research/PARalyzer/.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2011-12-8-r79DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3302668PMC
August 2011

Virally induced cellular microRNA miR-155 plays a key role in B-cell immortalization by Epstein-Barr virus.

J Virol 2010 Nov 15;84(22):11670-8. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Infection of resting primary human B cells by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) results in their transformation into indefinitely proliferating lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). LCL formation serves as a model for lymphomagenesis, and LCLs are phenotypically similar to EBV-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCLs), which represent a common AIDS-associated malignancy. B-cell infection by EBV induces the expression of several cellular microRNAs (miRNAs), most notably miR-155, which is overexpressed in many tumors and can induce B-cell lymphomas when overexpressed in animals. Here, we demonstrate that miR-155 is the most highly expressed miRNA in LCLs and that the selective inhibition of miR-155 function specifically inhibits the growth of both LCLs and the DLBCL cell line IBL-1. Cells lacking miR-155 are inefficient in progressing through S phase and spontaneously undergo apoptosis. In contrast, three other B-cell lymphoma lines, including two EBV-positive Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines, grew normally in the absence of miR-155 function. These data identify the induction of cellular miR-155 expression by EBV as critical for the growth of both laboratory-generated LCLs and naturally occurring DLBCLs and suggest that targeted inhibition of miR-155 function could represent a novel approach to the treatment of DLBCL in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01248-10DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2977875PMC
November 2010

Viruses, microRNAs, and host interactions.

Annu Rev Microbiol 2010 ;64:123-41

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Center for Virology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

One of the most significant recent advances in biomedical research has been the discovery of the approximately 22-nt-long class of noncoding RNAs designated microRNAs (miRNAs). These regulatory RNAs provide a unique level of posttranscriptional gene regulation that modulates a range of fundamental cellular processes. Several viruses, especially herpesviruses, also encode miRNAs, and over 200 viral miRNAs have now been identified. Current evidence indicates that viruses use these miRNAs to manipulate both cellular and viral gene expression. Furthermore, viral infection can exert a profound impact on the cellular miRNA expression profile, and several RNA viruses have been reported to interact directly with cellular miRNAs and/or to use these miRNAs to augment their replication potential. Here we discuss our current knowledge of viral miRNAs and virally influenced cellular miRNAs and their relationship to viral infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.micro.112408.134243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3621958PMC
December 2010

Identification of microRNAs expressed in two mosquito vectors, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus.

BMC Genomics 2010 Feb 18;11:119. Epub 2010 Feb 18.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Center for Virology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression in a variety of organisms, including insects, vertebrates, and plants. miRNAs play important roles in cell development and differentiation as well as in the cellular response to stress and infection. To date, there are limited reports of miRNA identification in mosquitoes, insects that act as essential vectors for the transmission of many human pathogens, including flaviviruses. West Nile virus (WNV) and dengue virus, members of the Flaviviridae family, are primarily transmitted by Aedes and Culex mosquitoes. Using high-throughput deep sequencing, we examined the miRNA repertoire in Ae. albopictus cells and Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes.

Results: We identified a total of 65 miRNAs in the Ae. albopictus C7/10 cell line and 77 miRNAs in Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes, the majority of which are conserved in other insects such as Drosophila melanogaster and Anopheles gambiae. The most highly expressed miRNA in both mosquito species was miR-184, a miRNA conserved from insects to vertebrates. Several previously reported Anopheles miRNAs, including miR-1890 and miR-1891, were also found in Culex and Aedes, and appear to be restricted to mosquitoes. We identified seven novel miRNAs, arising from nine different precursors, in C7/10 cells and Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes, two of which have predicted orthologs in An. gambiae. Several of these novel miRNAs reside within a ~350 nt long cluster present in both Aedes and Culex. miRNA expression was confirmed by primer extension analysis. To determine whether flavivirus infection affects miRNA expression, we infected female Culex mosquitoes with WNV. Two miRNAs, miR-92 and miR-989, showed significant changes in expression levels following WNV infection.

Conclusions: Aedes and Culex mosquitoes are important flavivirus vectors. Recent advances in both mosquito genomics and high-throughput sequencing technologies enabled us to interrogate the miRNA profile in these two species. Here, we provide evidence for over 60 conserved and seven novel mosquito miRNAs, expanding upon our current understanding of insect miRNAs. Undoubtedly, some of the miRNAs identified will have roles not only in mosquito development, but also in mediating viral infection in the mosquito host.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-11-119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834634PMC
February 2010

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus encodes an ortholog of miR-155.

J Virol 2007 Dec 19;81(23):12836-45. Epub 2007 Sep 19.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Shands Cancer Center, 1376 Mowry Road, Gainesville, FL 32610-3633, USA.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression by binding to 3'-untranslated regions (3'UTRs) of target mRNAs. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), a virus linked to malignancies including primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), encodes 12 miRNA genes, but only a few regulatory targets are known. We found that KSHV-miR-K12-11 shares 100% seed sequence homology with hsa-miR-155, an miRNA frequently found to be up-regulated in lymphomas and critically important for B-cell development. Based on this seed sequence homology, we hypothesized that both miRNAs regulate a common set of target genes and, as a result, could have similar biological activities. Examination of five PEL lines showed that PELs do not express miR-155 but do express high levels of miR-K12-11. Bioinformatic tools predicted the transcriptional repressor BACH-1 to be targeted by both miRNAs, and ectopic expression of either miR-155 or miR-K12-11 inhibited a BACH-1 3'UTR-containing reporter. Furthermore, BACH-1 protein levels are low in cells expressing either miRNA. Gene expression profiling of miRNA-expressing stable cell lines revealed 66 genes that were commonly down-regulated. For select genes, miRNA targeting was confirmed by reporter assays. Thus, based on our in silico predictions, reporter assays, and expression profiling data, miR-K12-11 and miR-155 regulate a common set of cellular targets. Given the role of miR-155 during B-cell maturation, we speculate that miR-K12-11 may contribute to the distinct developmental phenotype of PEL cells, which are blocked in a late stage of B-cell development. Together, these findings indicate that KSHV miR-K12-11 is an ortholog of miR-155.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01804-07DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2169101PMC
December 2007

Analysis of viral cis elements conferring Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus episome partitioning and maintenance.

J Virol 2007 Sep 11;81(18):9825-37. Epub 2007 Jul 11.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Shands Cancer Center, University of Florida, 1613 Mowry Road, Gainesville, FL 32610-3633, USA.

Maintenance of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) episomes in latently infected cells is dependent on the latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA). LANA binds to the viral terminal repeats (TR), leading to recruitment of cellular origin recognition complex proteins. Additionally, LANA tethers episomes to chromosomes via interactions with histones H2A and H2B (A. J. Barbera et al., Science 311:856-861, 2006). Despite these molecular details, less is known about how episomes are established after de novo infection. To address this, we measured short-term retention rates of green fluorescent protein-expressing replicons in proliferating lymphoid cells. In the absence of antibiotic selection, LANA significantly reduced the loss rate of TR-containing replicons. Additionally, we found that LANA can support long-term stability of KSHV replicons for more than 2 months under nonselective conditions. Analysis of cis elements within TR that confer episome replication and partitioning revealed that these activities can occur independently, and furthermore, both events contribute to episome stability. We found that replication-deficient plasmids containing LANA binding sites (LBS1/2) exhibited measurable retention rates in the presence of LANA. To confirm these observations, we uncoupled KSHV replication and partitioning by constructing hybrid origins containing the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) dyad symmetry for plasmid replication and KSHV LBS1/2. We demonstrate that multiple LBS1/2 function in a manner analogous to that of the EBV family of repeats by forming an array of LANA binding sites for partitioning of KSHV genomes. Our data suggest that the efficiency with which KSHV establishes latency is dependent on multiple LANA activities, which stabilize viral genomes early after de novo infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00842-07DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2045406PMC
September 2007

Identification of cellular genes targeted by KSHV-encoded microRNAs.

PLoS Pathog 2007 May;3(5):e65

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are 19 to 23 nucleotide-long RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression. Human cells express several hundred miRNAs which regulate important biological pathways such as development, proliferation, and apoptosis. Recently, 12 miRNA genes have been identified within the genome of Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus; however, their functions are still unknown. To identify host cellular genes that may be targeted by these novel viral regulators, we performed gene expression profiling in cells stably expressing KSHV-encoded miRNAs. Data analysis revealed a set of 81 genes whose expression was significantly changed in the presence of miRNAs. While the majority of changes were below 2-fold, eight genes were down-regulated between 4- and 20-fold. We confirmed miRNA-dependent regulation for three of these genes and found that protein levels of thrombospondin 1 (THBS1) were decreased >10-fold. THBS1 has previously been reported to be down-regulated in Kaposi sarcoma lesions and has known activity as a strong tumor suppressor and anti-angiogenic factor, exerting its anti-angiogenic effect in part by activating the latent form of TGF-beta. We show that reduced THBS1 expression in the presence of viral miRNAs translates into decreased TGF-beta activity. These data suggest that KSHV-encoded miRNAs may contribute directly to pathogenesis by down-regulation of THBS1, a major regulator of cell adhesion, migration, and angiogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.0030065DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1876501PMC
May 2007

Cloning and identification of a microRNA cluster within the latency-associated region of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus.

J Virol 2005 Jul;79(14):9301-5

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding regulatory RNA molecules that bind to 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) of mRNAs to either prevent their translation or induce their degradation. Previously identified in a variety of organisms ranging from plants to mammals, miRNAs are also now known to be produced by viruses. The human gammaherpesvirus Epstein-Barr virus has been shown to encode miRNAs, which potentially regulate both viral and cellular genes. To determine whether Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes miRNAs, we cloned small RNAs from KSHV-positive primary effusion lymphoma-derived cells and endothelial cells. Sequence analysis revealed 11 isolated RNAs of 19 to 23 bases in length that perfectly align with KSHV. Surprisingly, all candidate miRNAs mapped to a single genomic locale within the latency-associated region of KSHV. These data suggest that viral and host cellular gene expression may be regulated by miRNAs during both latent and lytic KSHV replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.79.14.9301-9305.2005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1168752PMC
July 2005