miRNAs are expressed by many organisms including viruses. The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), which is a highly prevalent human herpesvirus, also expresses several miRNAs. Although HCMV-encoded miRNAs were discovered several years ago, only little was revealed with regard to their function and their contribution to the HCMV life cycle and viral pathogenicity. Here, we will review what is known about the HCMV-encoded miRNAs functions with a special emphasis on immune evasion. We discuss the immune evasion strategies of HCMV and compare the immune evasion properties of viral proteins and miRNAs. In addition, we discuss the relationships formed between viral and cellular miRNAs and finally we emphasize important issues that require future investigation.
- immune evasion