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J Virol. 2008 Jun;82(11):5295-306. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02380-07. Epub 2008 Mar 26.

MicroRNA-155 is an Epstein-Barr virus-induced gene that modulates Epstein-Barr virus-regulated gene expression pathways.

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  • 1Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, New Orleans, USA.


The cellular microRNA miR-155 has been shown to be involved in lymphocyte activation and is expressed in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-infected cells displaying type III latency gene expression but not type I latency gene expression. We show here that the elevated levels of miR-155 in type III latency cells is due to EBV gene expression and not epigenetic differences in cell lines tested, and we show that expression in EBV-infected cells requires a conserved AP-1 element in the miR-155 promoter. Gene expression analysis was carried out in a type I latency cell line transduced with an miR-155-expressing retrovirus. This analysis identified both miR-155-suppressed and -induced cellular mRNAs and suggested that in addition to direct targeting of 3' untranslated regions (UTRs), miR-155 alters gene expression in part through the alteration of signal transduction pathways. 3' UTR reporter analysis of predicted miR-155 target genes identified the transcriptional regulatory genes encoding BACH1, ZIC3, HIVEP2, CEBPB, ZNF652, ARID2, and SMAD5 as miR-155 targets. Western blot analysis of the most highly suppressed of these, BACH1, showed lower expression in cells transduced with a miR-155 retrovirus. Inspection of the promoters from genes regulated in EBV-infected cells and in cells infected with an miR-155 retrovirus identified potential binding sequences for BACH1 and ZIC3. Together, these experiments suggest that the induction of miR-155 by EBV contributes to EBV-mediated signaling in part through the modulation of transcriptional regulatory factors.

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