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Virology. 2009 Apr 10;386(2):387-97. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.01.006. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

The microRNAs of Epstein-Barr Virus are expressed at dramatically differing levels among cell lines.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1400 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) encodes multiple microRNAs (miRNAs) from two primary transcripts, BHRF1 and the BARTs. The expression of BHRF1 miRNAs is dependent on the type of viral latency, whereas the BART miRNAs are expressed in cells during all forms of latency. It is not known how these miRNAs are otherwise regulated, though. We have used quantitative, stem-loop, real-time PCR to measure the expression of EBV's miRNAs and found them to differ nearly 50- and 25-fold among all tested cell lines and among EBV-positive Burkitt's lymphomas, respectively. In addition, the expression of individual BART miRNAs within a cell can differ by 50-fold or more despite the fact these miRNAs are likely transcribed together as a single primary transcript. These measurements are illuminating: they indicate that few of EBV's miRNAs are expressed at levels comparable to those of cellular miRNAs in most cell lines and therefore likely function interdependently.

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