Analysis of human cytomegalovirus-encoded microRNA activity during infection

Noam Stern-Ginossar, Niveen Saleh, Miri D. Goldberg, Mark Prichard, Dana G. Wolf, Ofer Mandelboim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are expressed in a wide variety of organisms, ranging from plants to animals, and are key posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression. Virally encoded miRNAs are unique in that they could potentially target both viral and host genes. Indeed, we have previously demonstrated that a human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-encoded miRNA, miR-UL112, downregulates the expression of a host immune gene, MICB. Remarkably, it was shown that the same miRNA also downregulates immediate-early viral genes and that its ectopic expression resulted in reduced viral replication and viral titers. The targets for most of the viral miRNAs, and hence their functions, are still unknown. Here we demonstrate that miR-UL112 also targets the UL114 gene, and we present evidence that the reduction of UL114 by miR-UL112 reduces its activity as uracil DNA glycosylase but only minimally affects virus growth. In addition, we show that two additional HCMV-encoded miRNAs, miR-US25-1 and miR-US25-2, reduce the viral replication and DNA synthesis not only of HCMV but also of other viruses, suggesting that these two miRNAs target cellular genes that are essential for virus growth. Thus, we suggest that in addition to miR-UL112, two additional HCMV miRNAs control the life cycle of the virus.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)10684-10693
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2009


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