1887

Abstract

In the last decade, numerous microRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified in diverse virus families, particularly in herpesviruses. Gallid alphaherpesvirus 2 (GaHV2) is a representative oncogenic alphaherpesvirus that induces rapid-onset T-cell lymphomas in its natural hosts, namely Marek’s disease (MD). In the GaHV2 genome there are 26 mature miRNAs derived from 14 precursors assembled into three clusters, namely the Meq-cluster, Mid-cluster and LAT-cluster. Several GaHV2 miRNAs, especially those in the Meq-cluster (e.g. miR-M4-5p), have been demonstrated to be critical in MD pathogenesis and/or tumorigenesis. Interestingly the downstream Mid-cluster is regulated and transcribed by the same promoter as the Meq-cluster in the latent phase of the infection, but the role of these Mid-clustered miRNAs in GaHV2 biology remains unclear. We have generated the deletion mutants of the Mid-cluster and of its associated individual miRNAs in GX0101 virus, a very virulent GaHV2 strain, and demonstrated that the Mid-clustered miRNAs are not essential for virus replication. Using GaHV2-infected chickens as an animal model, we found that, compared with parental GX0101 virus, the individual deletion of miR-M31 decreased the mortality and gross tumour incidence of infected chickens while the deletion individually of miR-M1 or miR-M11 unexpectedly increased viral pathogenicity or oncogenicity, similarly to the deletion of the entire Mid-cluster region. More importantly, our data further confirm that miR-M11-5p, the miR-M11-derived mature miRNA, targets the viral oncogene meq and suppresses its expression in GaHV2 infection. We report here that members of the Mid-clustered miRNAs, miR-M31-3p and miR-M11-5p, potentially act either as oncogene or tumour suppressor in MD lymphomagenesis.

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2017-05-11
2019-10-15
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