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Retrovirology. 2004 Dec 15;1:43.

HIV-1 encoded candidate micro-RNAs and their cellular targets.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0460, USA. YBennasser@niaid.nih.gov

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs of 21-25 nucleotides that specifically regulate cellular gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. miRNAs are derived from the maturation by cellular RNases III of imperfect stem loop structures of ~ 70 nucleotides. Evidence for hundreds of miRNAs and their corresponding targets has been reported in the literature for plants, insects, invertebrate animals, and mammals. While not all of these miRNA/target pairs have been functionally verified, some clearly serve roles in regulating normal development and physiology. Recently, it has been queried whether the genome of human viruses like their cellular counterpart also encode miRNA. To date, there has been only one report pertaining to this question. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been shown to encode five miRNAs. Here, we extend the analysis of miRNA-encoding potential to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Using computer-directed analyses, we found that HIV putatively encodes five candidate pre-miRNAs. We then matched deduced mature miRNA sequences from these 5 pre-miRNAs against a database of 3' untranslated sequences (UTR) from the human genome. These searches revealed a large number of cellular transcripts that could potentially be targeted by these viral miRNA (vmiRNA) sequences. We propose that HIV has evolved to use vmiRNAs as a means to regulate cellular milieu for its benefit.

PMID:
15601472
PMCID:
PMC544590
DOI:
10.1186/1742-4690-1-43
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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