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Abstract

Marek’s disease virus (MDV) is an important oncogenic alphaherpesvirus that induces rapid-onset T-cell lymphomas in its natural hosts. The Meq-clustered miRNAs encoded by MDV have been suggested to play potentially critical roles in the induction of lymphomas. Using the technique of bacterial artificial chromosome mutagenesis, we have presently constructed a series of specific miRNA-deleted mutants and demonstrate that these miRNAs are not essential for replication of MDV and have no effects on the early cytolytic or latent phases of the developing disease. However, compared to the parental GX0101, mortality of birds infected with the mutants GXΔmiR-M2, GXΔmiR-M3, GXΔmiR-M5, GXΔmiR-M9 and GXΔmiR-M12 was reduced from 100 % to 18 %, 30 %, 48 %, 24 % and 14 %, coupled with gross tumour incidence reduction from 28 % to 8 %, 4 %, 12 %, 8 % and 0 %, respectively. Our data confirm that except for mdv1-miR-M4, the other Meq-clustered miRNAs also play critical roles in MDV oncogenesis. Further work will be needed to elucidate the miRNA-mediated regulatory mechanisms that trigger the development of MD lymphomas.

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2015-03-01
2021-10-20
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