1887

Abstract

Marek’s disease virus (GaHV-2) is an alphaherpesvirus that induces T-cell lymphoma in chickens. The infection includes both lytic and latent stages. GaHV-2 encodes three clusters of microRNAs (miRNAs) located in the internal (I)/terminal (T) repeat (R) regions. We characterized transcripts encompassing the mdv1-mir-M9–M4 and mir-M11–M1 clusters located in the IR/TR region, upstream and downstream from the oncogene, respectively. By 5′- and 3′-RACE-PCR and targeted RT-PCR, we showed that mdv1-mir-M9–M4 could be transcribed from an unspliced transcript or from at least 15 alternatively spliced transcripts covering the IR/TR region, encompassing the and genes and localizing the mdv1-mir-M9–M4 cluster to the first intron at the 5′-end. However, all these transcripts, whether spliced or unspliced, seemed to start at the same transcriptional start site, their transcription being driven by a single promoter, prmiRM9M4. We demonstrated alternative promoter usage for the and genes, depending on the phase of GaHV-2 infection. During the latent phase, the prmiRM9M4 promoter drove transcription of the and genes and the mdv1-mir-M9–M4 cluster in the first intron of the corresponding transcripts. By contrast, during the lytic phase, this promoter drove the transcription only of the mdv1-mir-M9–M4 cluster to generate unspliced mRNA, the and genes being transcribed principally from their own promoters. Despite the expression of and the mdv1-mir-M9–M4 cluster under two different transcriptional processes during the latent and lytic phases, our data provide an explanation for expression and mdv1-mir-M4-5P overexpression in miRNA libraries from GaHV-2-infected cells, regardless of the phase of infection.

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2012-07-01
2020-01-19
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