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Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 24;8(1):6480. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23916-z.

Virus-encoded miRNAs in Ebola virus disease.

Author information

1
Diagnostic Systems Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD, USA.
2
Virology Division, U.S. Army Medical Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD, USA.
3
Metabiota, Kenema, Sierra Leone.
4
MRIGlobal - Global Health Surveillance and Diagnostics, Gaithersburg, MD, USA.
5
Metabiota, Washington, DC, USA.
6
Center of Excellence for Emerging & Zoonotic Animal Disease, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA.
7
Diagnostic Systems Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD, USA. timothy.d.minogue.civ@mail.mil.

Abstract

Ebola virus (EBOV) is a negative-strand RNA virus that replicates in the cytoplasm and causes an often-fatal hemorrhagic fever. EBOV, like other viruses, can reportedly encode its own microRNAs (miRNAs) to subvert host immune defenses. miRNAs are short noncoding RNAs that can regulate gene expression by hybridizing to multiple mRNAs, and viral miRNAs can enhance viral replication and infectivity by regulating host or viral genes. To date, only one EBOV miRNA has been examined in human infection. Here, we assayed mouse, rhesus macaque, cynomolgus macaque, and human samples infected with three EBOV variants for twelve computationally predicted viral miRNAs using RT-qPCR. Ten miRNAs aligned to EBOV variants and were detectable in the four species during disease with several viral miRNAs showing presymptomatic amplification in animal models. miRNA abundances in both the mouse and nonhuman primate models mirrored the human cohort, with miR-1-5p, miR-1-3p, and miR-T3-3p consistently at the highest levels. These striking similarities in the most abundant miRNAs during infection with different EBOV variants and hosts indicate that these miRNAs are potential valuable diagnostic markers and key effectors of EBOV pathogenesis.

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