Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Virol. 2014 Jun;88(11):6268-80. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00097-14. Epub 2014 Mar 26.

Intestinal epithelial barrier disruption through altered mucosal microRNA expression in human immunodeficiency virus and simian immunodeficiency virus infections.

Author information

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, Davis, California, USA.


Epithelial barrier dysfunction during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has largely been attributed to the rapid and severe depletion of CD4(+) T cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although it is known that changes in mucosal gene expression contribute to intestinal enteropathy, the role of small noncoding RNAs, specifically microRNA (miRNA), has not been investigated. Using the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected nonhuman primate model of HIV pathogenesis, we investigated the effect of viral infection on miRNA expression in intestinal mucosa. SIV infection led to a striking decrease in the expression of mucosal miRNA compared to that in uninfected controls. This decrease coincided with an increase in 5'-3'-exoribonuclease 2 protein and alterations in DICER1 and Argonaute 2 expression. Targets of depleted miRNA belonged to molecular pathways involved in epithelial proliferation, differentiation, and immune response. Decreased expression of several miRNA involved in maintaining epithelial homeostasis in the gut was localized to the proliferative crypt region of the intestinal epithelium. Our findings suggest that SIV-induced decreased expression of miRNA involved in epithelial homeostasis, disrupted expression of miRNA biogenesis machinery, and increased expression of XRN2 are involved in the development of epithelial barrier dysfunction and gastroenteropathy.


MicroRNA (miRNA) regulate the development and function of intestinal epithelial cells, and many viruses disrupt normal host miRNA expression. In this study, we demonstrate that SIV and HIV disrupt expression of miRNA in the small intestine during infection. The depletion of several key miRNA is localized to the proliferative crypt region of the gut epithelium. These miRNA are known to control expression of genes involved in inflammation, cell death, and epithelial maturation. Our data indicate that this disruption might be caused by altered expression of miRNA biogenesis machinery during infection. These findings suggest that the disruption of miRNA in the small intestine likely plays a role in intestinal enteropathy during HIV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center