The Role of MicroRNAs in Viral Infection

School of Pharmacy, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG72RD, United Kingdom.
Progress in molecular biology and translational science (Impact Factor: 3.49). 12/2011; 102:101-39. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-415795-8.00002-7
Source: PubMed


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules that have emerged in recent years as central regulators of eukaryotic gene expression. In mammalian systems, miRNAs are associated with numerous pathological and physiological pathways. miRNAs are important in many viral infections, with different viral families expressing their own miRNAs, manipulating host miRNA expression, or showing direct or indirect regulation by host or viral miRNAs. In this chapter we will examine the current evidence for interplay between the miRNA pathway and viral infections in mammals.

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    • "Moreover, viral infection can bring out changes in the cellular miRNA expression profile and even viruses themselves can encode miRNAs to modulate their replication and virusassociated host pathways. Furthermore, some RNA viruses, such as HCV, directly interact with cellular miRNAs to regulate their replication (Roberts et al., 2011b). "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a worldwide health problem and is one of the main causes of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, only limited therapeutic options and no vaccines are currently available against HCV infection. Recent studies of microRNAs (miRNAs), which are able to regulate HCV replication and its related liver diseases by directly interacting with the HCV genome or indirectly controlling virus-associated host pathways, have broadened our understanding of the HCV life cycle. HCV utilizes host cellular miRNAs and modulates expression of miRNAs in infected hepatocytes for its infection and propagation. Moreover, such miRNAs directly or indirectly alter HCV replication efficiency and induce liver diseases including liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, or HCC. Representatively, miR-122 directly modulates the HCV life cycle by increasing HCV translation and genomic RNA stability. Recently, a phase IIa clinical trial with miravirsen, an LNA form of antimiR-122 oligonucleotides, showed significant reduction in serum HCV levels in patients chronically infected with HCV with no detectible evidence of resistance. In addition to miR-122, other miRNAs involved in the regulation of HCV propagation could be targeted in strategies to modulate HCV replication and pathogenesis. In this review, we summarize the features of miRNAs critical for HCV replication and HCV-mediated liver abnormalities and briefly discuss their potential application as therapeutic reagents for the treatment of HCV infection and its related diseases.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · The Journal of Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are transcripts that have no apparent protein-coding capacity; however, many ncRNAs have been found to play a major biological role in human physiology. Their deregulation is implicated in many human diseases, but their exact roles are only beginning to be elucidated. Nevertheless, ncRNAs are extensively studied as a novel source of biomarkers, and the fact that they can be detected in body fluids makes them extremely suitable for this purpose. The authors mainly focus on ncRNAs as biomarkers in cancer, but also touch on other human diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders and infectious diseases. The authors discuss the established methods and provide a selection of emerging new techniques that can be used to detect and quantify ncRNAs. Finally, the authors discuss ncRNAs as a new strategy for therapeutic interventions.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that hepatitis B virus (HBV) interferes with host antiviral immunity via multiple pathways. In clinical practice, interferon resistance is a serious issue for treatment of HBV infection. Now, miRNAs have been reported to be widely involved in antiviral immunity and have become a novel tool to study virus-host interaction. We question whether miRNAs play a role in HBV-induced interferon resistance in hepatocytes. MiRNAs levels in HepG2 and HepG2.2.15 cells were compared by qRT-PCR. The effects of miR146a on HBV infection were characterized by interference miR146a level, followed by the quantification of HBV mRNA, DNA and antigens. We employed qRT-PCR and western blot to study the effects of miR146a on the IFN-α signalling pathway. The miR146a promoter activity was validated by a luciferase reporter assay. HBV infection impaired IFN-α signalling pathway in hepatocytes. MiR146a was upregulated in HBV+ HepG2.2.15 cells, and the transcriptional activity of miR146a in HepG2.2.15 cells was increased compared with HepG2 cells. HBV infection, especially the introduction of HBx, induced miR146a expression in vitro. Moreover, miR146a attenuated the production of type I interferon-induced antiviral factors. Low STAT1 levels were noticed in HBV+ HCC cells, and the luciferase reporter assay showed that STAT1 was post-transcriptionally downregulated by miR146a. Furthermore, the silencing of miR146a by antisense inhibitors enhanced IFN-α-mediated anti-HBV efficiency. Our findings demonstrate that HBV infection promotes miR146a transcription, which represses STAT1 and results in interferon resistance. These observations reveal a novel role for miR146a in HBV immunopathogenesis, and provide a potential target for the therapeutic recovery of IFN-α-induced anti-HBV effects.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver
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