Novel approach to identify putative Epstein–Barr–virus microRNAs regulating host cell genes with relevance in tumor biology and immunology

Simon Jasinski-Bergner*, Juliane Blümke, Marcus Bauer, Saskia Luise Skiebe, Ofer Mandelboim, Claudia Wickenhauser, Barbara Seliger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The human Epstein–Barr virus is associated with several human solid and hematopoietic malignancies. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms including virus-encoded microRNAs (miRs), which lead to the malignant transformation of infected cells and immune evasion of EBV-associated tumors, have not yet been characterized. The expression levels of numerous known EBV-specific miRs and their suitability as diagnostic and/or prognostic markers were determined in different human EBV-positive tissues followed by in silico analyses to identify putative EBV-miR-regulated target genes, thereby offering a suitable screening strategy to overcome the limited available data sets of EBV-miRs and their targeted gene networks. Analysis of microarray data sets from healthy human B cells and malignant-transformed EBV-positive B cells of patients with Burkitt’s lymphoma revealed statistically significant (p < 0.05) deregulated genes with known functions in oncogenic properties, immune escape and anti-tumoral immune responses. Alignments of in vivo and in silico data resulted in the prediction of putative candidate EBV-miRs and their target genes. Thus, a combinatorial approach of bioinformatics, transcriptomics and in situ expression analyses is a promising tool for the identification of EBV-miRs and their potential targets as well as their eligibility as markers for EBV detection in different EBV-associated human tissue.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2070338
Issue number1
Early online date2022
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article was supported by grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG; project number: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft 496182670 S.J-B; SE581/34-1 BS), the Jackst?dt Foundation (S.J-B), the German Israelian Foundation (GIF I-1412-414.13-2017; BS, OM), and the BMBF (Bundesministerium f?r Bildung und Forschung ZB 031B0800B CW, BS); Dr Werner Jackst?dt-Stiftung.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • EBV
  • EBV target genes
  • EBV-driven disease
  • malignant transformation
  • microRNA
  • transcriptomics


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